The World Cup Qualifiers would start soon in Latin America and Brazil are geared to make an impact. Tite has announced the squad for the upcoming matches against Bolivia and Peru. There was no sign of Arthur Melo because of his recent lack of playing time, but he has included Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz, who has been brilliant in the Premier League and his performance against Sheffield United justifies Tite’s selection as well.
Impressive @dg_douglasluiz. Tite has made the right call by including him in the squad for the World Cup Qualifiers. He could be the right partner of @Casemiro in the midfield. https://t.co/YUQ4rlzJi9
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) September 23, 2020
Douglas was born in Rio de Janerio on May 9, 1998.
Douglas hails from a poor socioeconomic background. He experienced poverty and like many Brazilian kids, he realized that football could be the best option to change his fortune.
When he was 14 years old he was accepted in the Vasco da Gama youth academies and while playing for the Under-17 team, he made a big impact years later.
He was given the option to play as a full-back on the right, but Douglas was not accustomed to the position, but he could realize the fact, the competition to play in the initial XI was an uphill task, as Vasco had three players constantly called into the national team of the category (Andrey, Evander, and Mateus Vital), so Douglas thought it was better to play as a right-back than not no play.
More touches (98) and more passes completed (85) than any other player on the pitch.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 21, 2020
As Vasco was in the Brazilian Serie B in 2016, they were forced to use some domestic solutions and promoted nine youngsters. Well, Douglas was not amongst them, but injuries and suspensions forced the team to call for even more kids and that’s when Douglas started to draw some attention.
When the team passed through its worst moment in the year, Douglas was like a light at the end of the tunnel. The coach Jorginho liked what he saw and the player had a six-game sequence, enough to convince everyone.
When Vasco managed to uplift themselves among the elite of Brazilian football, Douglas was even better – he took the role from full-back to manage the center of the park. Douglas flourished as a midfielder.
Again, at times he failed to hit the jackpot when it was needed the most and that was the case in the Under-20 South American Championship. Douglas, Felipe Vizeu, Richarlison, and Guilherme Arana had a decent tournament but weren’t enough to win the title for Brazil.
Back to Vasco da Gama, Douglas soon began to leave his supporting role to play as the main actor, becoming popular for his calm and composure in important games, such as the derbies against Flamengo, Botafogo, and Fluminense.
That was enough to put him in the Campeonato Carioca’s best XI and catch the attention of the scouts from Monaco, Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester City to Brazil.
However, even though his contract had recently been renewed, Vasco could not hold him when the €12M offer arrived from England.
Douglas caught the attention of Pep Guardiola.
Left: Douglas Luiz's 92 attempted passes vs. Sheffield United, attacking to the right.
Right: Luiz's 99 touches of the ball.
There is almost a dead straight line 25 yards from goal that he did not cross, did not touch the ball beyond.
One exception is a header from a corner. pic.twitter.com/o2A15YnVDl
— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) September 21, 2020
Douglas Luiz completed a move to Manchester City on 15 July 2017, signing a five-year contract.
In August, he was loaned to La Liga side Girona FC for his first season with the club. Douglas made his debut for Girona, replacing Portu in a 1–0 home win against Malaga CF.
A year later, Douglas Luiz was again loaned to Girona due to the UK Home Office denying him a work permit.
In 2019, Douglas signed for Aston Villa subject to a work permit. His work permit was granted and he officially became an Aston Villa player on August 7, 2019. 10 days later, Douglas Luiz scored his first goal for Aston Villa against AFC Bournemouth; Villa would eventually lose the game 2–1.
At one point, Aston Villa were at risk of relegation, but they escaped the scare courtesy of the brilliance of Douglas in the 2019-20 season.
He featured in 28 matches for Villa – 8 of them are coming on as a substitute. Douglas spent 2855 minutes on the pitch with 79 minutes per match. Scored thrice with an xG of 2.40. Took 22 shots on goal among which 12 off them were on target. Provided 2 assists. Made 1235 passes among which 1025 had been successful with a success rate of 83%. Completed 46 successful tackles among 92 and blocked 16 shots.
He was the pivot in the midfield and the game flowed through him.
Douglas is great on carrying the ball, posses a superb technique and versatility to adapt to different situations and it is not surprising that he is well-equipped to dribble past the ball – typical of any Brazilians.
According to WhoScored, “Of the 303 players to have attempted 25 or more dribbles, Douglas has a better dribble success rate (93.1%) than any other player since the start of the 2017-18 La Liga season.”
And if the dribble is not an option, that is not a problem. He has a really precise pass, especially when he tries layoffs for fast wingers. If the strategy is intensity, his passes can cut the opposition lines. If possession is the focus, he can patiently wait for the opportunities.
While starting for Villa in the early days, Douglas knew neither was he good in long-distance shot nor well-equipped in man-marking and thus, invested more on his positives smartly and worked hard to improve the shortcomings. Over the years, one can say, Douglas has improved and he is ready to make an impact in even better clubs and Brazil.