Chelsea defender David Luiz is growing in maturity as a player and the next three years should be the best of his career, former Stamford Bridge centre-back Paul Elliott has said.
Luiz rejoined Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, and the 29-year-old has flourished since head coach Antonio Conte’s decision to switch to a 3-4-3 formation in September.
Elliott — who spent three years at Chelsea before retiring with a knee injury in 1994 — believes Conte and Luiz are the right match and expects the Brazil international to attain his full potential at the club.
“People thought there were a lot of mistakes in him, but he’s been consistent,” Elliott said at the London Football Awards on Thursday.
“That’s because he’s matured. He’s 29 now and, as a former centre-back myself, that is the perfect age to see great consistency.
“Over the next three years you’ll see the best of Luiz, because he’s making the right decisions and not taking unnecessary risks.
“He knows now when to defend, when to kick it away, but he knows when he can get it down and play. His concentration has been excellent.”
The way in which Luiz has thrived has meant that captain John Terry has been benched for the first extended period of his Chelsea career.
But the 36-year-old has stressed that he is happy to stay out of the team if it means they go on to win the Premier League title.
“John is a team player,” Elliott said. “Of course he wants to play, but part of being a leader is accepting that the team comes first at all times.
“Nobody wants the team to keep winning more than him. He’s always done right by Chelsea, and that will continue.”
Asked whether Terry has shown enough off the pitch to merit a new one-year contract, Elliott said: “Of course. He’s impacting the club, impacting the dressing room, impacting the dugout.
“He’s a great confidant for the manager and a great ambassador for the club. I don’t have to sell it — his characteristics and qualities speak for themselves.”