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Luiz ready to fill Terry's boots

ESPN staff
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David Luiz says he can fill the void left by John Terry © Getty Images
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David Luiz is confident he has the ability to be a "natural leader" at Chelsea, particularly in the absence of captain John Terry for the Club World Cup.

Luiz, 25, has been accused of lacking the consistency to lead the Blues, but with Terry absent for Chelsea's clash with Monterrey on Thursday, the Brazilian is eager to spur his side's title challenge.

The defender responded to criticism about his ability to have an impact on Chelsea's younger players, claiming he has the credentials to become a key influence at Stamford Bridge.

"I was captain at Benfica at 21," he said. "I know my personality is to be a natural leader. So I know now that, at this moment, with the team's leaders of many, many years out of the team, I need to take responsibility of the team myself and try and help the younger players.

"I don't have a problem with that in bad moments. I always say my shoulders are broad and I can take that extra responsibility. I love it. I want it. I prefer to take it on myself to help the other guys, who can go and play with their heads clear and calm.

"I can play with this added responsibility. I enjoy it. I know my personality and I know what it's taken to get me here at Chelsea."

Although Luiz was quick to display his resilient nature, he admits that external pressures have at times impacted his game.

"No one likes crticism," Luiz said. "It gets to you and you don't like it. You ask: 'Why are they saying this? I tried my best, why can't they see I'm trying?'

"You can have these moments when you're down, but you can't let them last long. They have to pass. I can be sad for one or two hours. But, the rest of the day, I need to be happy because the team needs me to be positive. My brain needs it. I need it."

Much of the scrutiny placed on Luiz is common for England's top clubs and Rafa Benitez's description of the 25-year-old as 'world class' has helped him deal with the criticism.

"The last four games, I've played really well, at the top level and with confidence," Luiz said. "I need to continue this work and mentality. This is a big club. If I played for a club in the middle of the table, I could make mistakes in games, three or four times, and no one would notice because the analysis is not at the top level.

"But when you play for a big club, they analyse you at the top level. Every little mistake is highlighted. Every day work, work, work. This is the key to football. Because if you don't, other guys work more than you do and they kill you."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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