Many doubted the abilities of Brazilian defender David Luiz after his return to Chelsea from PSG last summer and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was one of those who questioned Chelsea’s decision to sign Luiz.

Writing in his Daily Mail column, Carragher revealed he has been impressed with David Luiz this season and he expects the defender to be a contender for Player of the Year.

“It looked to be a transfer loaded with risk and the feeling was enhanced after his first three games,” Carragher wrote in his Daily Mail column. “Chelsea conceded seven goals in that sequence, lost two Premier League games to Liverpool and Arsenal and Luiz was booked in the 4-2 League Cup win at Leicester.

“But then Conte got to work and came up with the system that is propelling Chelsea to the title and has turned Luiz into one of the Premier League’s outstanding performers. A measure of his new-found discipline is that his brilliant goal at Liverpool was his first of the year.

“Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation has revitalised Eden Hazard and allowed Victor Moses to finally establish himself in the team but more than anything, it has given a responsibility to Luiz that has brought a maturity to his approach and his game.

“Luiz sees things more clearly now. Last season I regarded Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as the best central defenders in the Premier League but such has been Chelsea’s defensive improvement – both teams have conceded only 16 goals – you have to put Luiz right up there.

“He has helped keep 12 clean sheets so far but his best figure is the zero in the column reserved for errors that have led to goals. That is where defenders will always be judged and, so far, Luiz has been almost faultless, with Opta’s stats showing just one error in 19 appearances that led to a shot.

“In the next couple of months, you see, all footballers will receive the voting forms for the PFA awards.

“We already have an idea of what the shortlist will look like. It will be dominated by Chelsea players with Hazard, who is operating at his dazzling levels of two years ago, Diego Costa and the relentlessly impressive N’Golo Kante expected to be among the favourites.

“Yet why should Luiz not be considered? He has always looked every inch the modern defender, a big, strong powerhouse who can move. He has always had talent but now he has added discipline, it is all coming together. He will face Arsenal on Saturday in the form of his life. For that, he can thank Conte.”

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