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Steven Gerrard wants more from Douglas Luiz with Aston Villa yet to open talks over new deal

Steven Gerrard will demand more from Douglas Luiz as the midfielder enters a pivotal period in his Villa career.

Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz
Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz

Luiz has 18 months remaining on his contract and Gerrard has confirmed the club are yet to begin talks over a new deal.

The Brazil international has made 86 Premier League appearances since joining Villa from Manchester City for £15million in 2019 and has remained a regular under Gerrard, starting the last eight matches. But while satisfied with Luiz’s performances in what has been a deeper-lying role than he ideally prefers, following the loss of Marvelous Nakamba to injury, the Villa boss believes there is more potential to be unlocked.

Gerrard said: “Dougie has done OK for us. We’ve been happy with his training level and the performances he has given.

“We believe there’s room for him to improve. He’s doing us a job as a No.6 at the moment. We know that he prefers to play a bit more advanced but he’s helped us out an awful lot on the back of Nakamba’s injury.

“We rate the player extremely high and we’re hoping from now until the end of the season, he can really perform at his best and help the team moving forward.

“No, we haven’t opened contract talks yet. In this period and this window, it has been about trying to strengthen the current squad, make additions and also find destinations on loan for some of our young players.”

Gerrard is hoping to bolster his midfield options before Monday’s transfer deadline with Villa still in talks with Juventus over a deal for Uruguay international Rodrigo Bentancur. The 24-year-old’s abilities as a defensive midfielder are thought to be of particular appeal.

Luiz has suitors of his own, with Arsenal thought to be long-term admirers and Newcastle also reported to be keeping tabs on his situation. But while an approach from either seems unlikely this month, interest in the 23-year-old will only increase as the time remaining on his contract ticks down and his value decreases.

Gerrard said: “Everyone’s got to earn their place moving forward, that should always be the case at Aston Villa no matter who’s in charge.

“Douglas is a fantastic player, really talented and we rate him extremely high.

“We want to keep all of our best players around. We understand there will be interest in our best players as well, we don’t have a problem with that.

“But yes, we want to keep all of our top talent around, we see Douglas as a top talent, a really wonderful footballer on his day. It’s my job to try to make this team and this squad as strong as it can be, littered with top footballers.”

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