Lucas Leiva believes Philippe Coutinho has the talent to take the Barclays Premier League by storm — but insisted the playmaker will need time to adjust fully to the demands of English football.
Having moved to Anfield from Inter Milan in January, Coutinho marked his full Liverpool debut with a goal and an eye-catching display in Sunday’s 5-0 rout of Swansea City.
Lucas believes that performance was just a glimpse of what his compatriot is capable of producing, though he’s stressed no-one should expect too much too soon from the 20-year-old.
“I’m really happy for him,” said Lucas. “We were talking about the pace of the Premier League and even with the training sessions he has found it is much quicker than in Italy.
“He will need time to settle but that goal will give him confidence. We could see a lot of positive things from him against Swansea. Hopefully he will be a great player for now and for the future as he’s only 20. But he will need time. Every single young player who comes to the Premier League finds it difficult when they first come. It will be the same for him.
“I’ve told him about how he will be successful here. He is trying to adapt and play quick because he knows he needs that tempo to be successful. He has the skills and the ability to do well. We just need to support and help him.”
Despite his tender age, Coutinho already has plenty of experience having represented Vasco da Gama in his homeland as well as Inter and Spanish side Espanyol.
“His reputation is very high in Brazil but he left the country very early,” Lucas added. ”He was only 18 so we couldn’t really see him play many first-team matches. At Inter he didn’t get as many chances as he probably thought he would have. Here it’s a new challenge for him.
“He has settled well and we have a few South American players who can help him. He’s already starting to show what he can do.”
Photo via Liverpoolfc.com