Andre Santos has credited Arsenal for helping him hone his craft as a full-back (stop sniggering at the back) and revealed that his recent return to the Brazil international fold is thanks to an upturn in confidence following regular football on loan at Gremio.
The 30-year-old was shipped out of the Emirates in January following a poor run of form but has thrived since returning to his homeland claiming that the defensive discipline instilled in him by Arsene Wenger (we said stop sniggering at the back) has flourished under Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
Speaking positively about his time in the Premier League, Santos told FIFA.com:
“As well being one of the best in the world, the English league is also one of the most tactical and it took me a little while to get used to it.
“I think it helped me improve my positional awareness though. It was there that I learned I was a fullback and now I’m totally used to playing like that, as one man in a four-man defence, whose first priority is to defend properly and to get forward only when it’s necessary.
“That’s the way I’ve been playing for [Vanderlei] Luxemburgo at Gremio, and it’s even more that way with the Brazil team, which has always had a lot of talent in midfield and attack.”
A player who obviously took criticism to heart (there was definitely a sadness behind his eyes despite his rainbow smiles) Santos also underlined that with confidence returning he’s focused on earning a place in Brazil’s squad for the World Cup on home turf having missed out on the tournament three years ago.
“It just goes to show how important confidence is when it comes to performing well,” he continued.
“Obviously I’ve never forgotten how to play football, the kind of football I’ve always played.
“It’s not easy to get a place in the Brazil squad for a major finals. All I know is how hard I’ve been working and that I’m happy and motivated with Gremio. If I can keep it up, I’ll get my chance with A Seleção. And when it comes, I’ll approach it in a different way – you can be sure of that.”
Arseblog News is pleased that Santos is enjoying an upturn of form, after all he was never a bad egg; he just wasn’t fit for purpose at the Emirates. Obviously he’s still under contract for a couple more years and on a decent salary to boot so it’ll be interesting to see whether he accepts the uncertainty of loan football for another year (a risky decision given his World Cup ambitions) or if he pushes for a permanent switch in the summer.