With Per Mertesacker becoming older and his pace becoming more and more of a liability in the centre of the Arsenal defence, 25-year-old Brazilian central defender back Gabriel Paulista has been asked to step up in recent matches to fill the void left by the big German.
Nacho Monreal, the Gunners’ first-choice left-back, has spoken to Arsenal Player about how he thinks Gabriel will develop in the next few years.
It’s good that I can speak Spanish with him on the pitch, but Gabby knows he needs to improve his English because that will make the football easier. Myself, Hector, everyone is helping him every day with it because it’s much better for the team.
I know exactly how he feels, because it was the same for me when I first arrived. When my English got better, I got better on the pitch too, because when you are playing one of the most important things is confidence.
After arriving from Villarreal in January of last season, the Brazilian has proven his talents to be useful, with his pace an obvious asset thus far this season.
Monreal, like Gabriel, came to north London from Spain, so it is natural that the Spaniard sees himself in Gabriel. Both have played well this season, and the left-back is under no illusions that confidence for the two will prove useful.
If you are confident in yourself, you feel better because you are more relaxed and you feel the authority to correct things you see. You feel more involved in the group.
With the help of the Spain international and the rest of his Spanish-speaking teammates, the 25-year-old has improved enough to get himself a few call-ups to the Brazilian national team, which will help his confidence and his career greatly.
Now that he is more accustomed to the language, culture, and style of play in England, Arsenal supporters may be forced into getting used to seeing Gabriel feature on a regular basis.