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Douglas Luiz talks up Villa star Ollie Watkins as big England threat to Brazil

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Mar 2024

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Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz has warned his Brazil team-mates they will face “one of the best strikers” if Ollie Watkins gets the nod to lead the line for England on Saturday night.

Brazil take on England at Wembley this weekend in a friendly which acts as preparation for both nations ahead of their respective major tournaments this summer with Euro 2024 and the Copa America both set to commence in June.

England boss Gareth Southgate has fitness concerns over captain Harry Kane, who is nursing an ankle issue and may sit out the clash with Selecao.

If Kane is absent, Southgate could turn to Watkins after an excellent domestic campaign for Villa, with the forward able to score 22 times across all competitions.

Watkins’ goals have pushed Villa into Champions League contention and fired them into the Europa Conference League quarter-finals to impress club team-mate Luiz.

“Yes I know the quality he has. I know he is an extraordinary striker,” Luiz told Sky Sports.

“He doesn’t play the same role as me, of course. My goals are something I am managing to build each season.

“He is a forward that surprises me a lot for his finishing and also for how much he helps us defend.

“For me, he is one of the best strikers there is at the moment.”

Luiz has also played his role in Villa’s excellent season with 10 goals and paid tribute to Villa head coach Unai Emery.

The midfielder has struggled to nail down a starting role for Brazil since his debut in 2019, but will aim to catch the eye of interim boss Dorival Junior during this international camp.

Former Vasco da Gama player Luiz added: “Yes, I am very happy with my stats.

“As a central midfielder, it is very important to score goals, provide assists and to defend, which is also my role.

“When Unai arrived, he spoke to me about this. He saw my quality and that I can play closer to the box but also defend. He helped me a lot with this.”

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