Mikel Arteta says Willian is still hungry for success despite arriving at Arsenal with a trophy-laden CV.
The Brazil international grabbed two assists on his debut as the Gunners made a flying start against Fulham on Saturday and the boss expects the 32-year-old to continue producing the goods on the pitch while serving as a role model to his younger teammates off it.
“With some players when that [winning trophies] happened they have a full stomach but with Willian I got the opposite feeling, that he wanted more and how he wanted to move to a different club and get to the level that he got before,” Arteta told his post-game press conference.
“So I’m really pleased because he showed [at Fulham] how much he really wants it and how much he is going to drive the other players on in order to achieve that.”
He added: “We have a lot of young players with a big talent and a big future but they need some role models and I think Willian is a really good one to have around the place because he doesn’t talk much in the dressing room, but he does on the pitch and that’s a good way to do it.”
The boss was also impressed with the contributions of fellow Brazilian debutant Gabriel Magalhaes.
The 22-year-old was thrust into action after only a few training sessions with his new teammates and came away with a clean sheet, a goal and eye-catching passing stats. He completed 107 out of 113 passes on a day when he and Rob Holding set the tone for the team’s performance by patiently moving the ball out from the back.
“We followed him a lot, he has very special qualities which suit the way we want to play,” Arteta said when asked what drew the club to his signing.
“One of them was his character, his personality… for him to come in and do what he does today, it’s a big trait.”