Kuyt salutes Lucas' character
Brazilian earns the praise and respect of team-mates
Last Updated: December 10, 2010 1:35pm
Leiva: Kuyt praise
Lucas Leiva has earned the praise of team-mate Dirk Kuyt for his immense show of character.
The Brazilian has had to endure an uneasy relationship with Liverpool fans during his time at Anfield.
Lucas arrived with a £6million price tag from Brazilian side Gremio three years ago and big things were expected of him.
However, it was only towards the end of last term he started showing his ability, and has been one of the best performers during this turbulent campaign.
"Lucas has done really well recently and is developing into a great player," Kuyt said.
"He waited for his chances to come through that and I'm sure all the experiences he's had so far have made him stronger, not only as a footballer but as a person as well.
"There isn't a player in the world who doesn't have good and bad times.
"You just have to make the best of it. When things aren't going the way you want you just have to keep working and Lucas has done that.
"In the last couple of weeks he has really clicked with Raul Meireles; with Lucas holding midfielder and Raul as the passing player it has worked really well.
"That's been a big plus for us. Lucas has also got himself into the Brazil team and deserves credit for that."
The form of Lucas has proved pivotal in manager's Roy Hodgson's decision to award his industrious midfielder a new contract at the club.
With captain Steven Gerrard due to be fully recovered from a hamstring injury for next week's game against Fulham, Hodgson will have to decide how to dismantle the Lucas-Meireles axis.
"It will be a nice headache, won't it? he admitted.
"There are enough problems as a football manager without worrying too much about what's going to happen in the future.
"We'll let the future take care of itself. Steven is not fit for this weekend, so that makes the decision easy for me.
"Maybe against Fulham I'll have a very hard decision to make, but I'll welcome that because if we're going to become a good team we're going to need plenty of those hard decisions.
"It will prove we've got a lot of good quality players and we aren't totally dependent on the odd one or two, which is also important for the team to know that."