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24-year-old's ability "at a level that justifies" place in national team

Lucas Leiva, the much-maligned Brazilian midfielder at the heart of Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool revival, will prove to be a major success for both club and country according to 1994 World Cup-winning midfielder Rai.

The former Paris St. Germain playmaker, who made 51 appearances for the Selecao, scoring 16 goals, is a big fan of the 24-year-old who arrived on Merseyside from Gremio in 2007.

Since then Lucas has gone on to make over 100 appearances for Liverpool, yet the club's supporters have only really begun to see his true ability in the past 12 months, progress which has also seen him earn a regular starting spot for his national side.

And Rai believes that Lucas, with the added confidence of being a regular for his country, will go from strength to strength.

"Lucas was so young when he first got into the Brazilian national team after making such a good start with his club," Rai said.

"In my opinion his ability is at a level that justifies him being in the group of the national team. He has the quality to play in Liverpool’s side too.

"I don’t follow the Premier League extremely closely but I think he can change people’s opinion of him because he’s got the qualities to do it.

"Maybe the national team is the place to give him more confidence and to then show it in Liverpool too."

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