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Luiz warns Brazil to beware of England striker Watkins

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/aston-villa/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Aston Villa;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Aston Villa</a>'s Brazil midfielder <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/players/3862718/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Douglas Luiz;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Douglas Luiz</a> (Paul ELLIS)

Brazil midfielder Douglas Luiz has warned his team-mates to respect England striker Ollie Watkins if his Aston Villa colleague deputises for Harry Kane in Saturday's friendly.

England captain Kane has been ruled out of the Wembley clash with an ankle injury sustained while playing for Bayern Munich last weekend.

Southgate is likely to select either Watkins or Brentford striker Ivan Toney in place of Kane this weekend.

Luiz has first-hand knowledge of Watkins after an excellent domestic campaign for Villa, with the forward scoring 22 times across all competitions.

Watkins' goals have pushed Villa into contention to qualify for next season's Champions League and fired them into the Europa Conference League quarter-finals.

"Yes I know the quality he has. I know he is an extraordinary striker," Luiz said on Friday.

"He doesn't play the same role as me, of course. My goals are something I am managing to build each season.

"He is a forward that surprises me a lot for his finishing and also for how much he helps us defend. For me, he is one of the best strikers there is at the moment."

The glamour friendly acts as preparation for England and Brazil ahead of their respective tournaments this year, with Euro 2024 and the Copa America both set to commence in June.

Luiz has played his role in Villa's excellent season with 10 goals, but the midfielder has struggled to nail down a starting role for Brazil since his debut in 2019.

Revitalised by Villa boss Unai Emery, he is hoping to catch the eye of Brazil manager Dorival Junior.

"Yes, I am very happy with my stats. As a central midfielder, it is very important to score goals, provide assists and to defend, which is also my role," he said.

"When Unai arrived, he spoke to me about this. He saw my quality and that I can play closer to the box but also defend. He helped me a lot with this."

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