By Russell Edge

20th Aug, 2021 | 4:00pm

Pundit: Douglas Luiz 'massive' for Aston Villa after training ground update

Noel Whelan has insisted Douglas Luiz was a “big miss” for Aston Villa against Watford and his return to training is a big boost.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the midfielder is a “massive player” for Dean Smith in the centre of the pitch.

The 23-year-old took to Twitter on Monday to confirm he had returned to training at Villa after his international exploits this summer.

He played twice as Brazil finished as runners up to Argentina in the Copa America.

The midfielder then made five appearances to help his country win gold at the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Villa lost 3-2 to Watford in their first game of the new Premier League season.

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Whelan admitted Luiz’s absence was a big blow for the Villans.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I do think he was a big miss. When you’ve got players like that, no different to Kalvin Phillips, you miss that stability.

“You miss those players that can do that role so well and he’s one of those players. It’s a specified kind of role and some people can fit in there but can’t do it as well.

“That’s the crucial part, it’s a cog that is integral to the way the other cogs work. I think when you’re missing that, you do see that that pinch. They definitely saw that against Watford.

“I think he’s a massive player in that midfield. He gives licence to other players to get forward, that security.

“He’s got that range of passing but he’s also got that aggression as well that you need in that midfield area.”

John McGinn was joined by Marvelous Nakamba in central midfield for the defeat at Vicarage Road.

Villa play host to Newcastle United on Saturday (August 21st).

In other news, Aston Villa backed to land huge profit as rivals plot transfer raid.