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Gabriel Paulista on his debut and English lessons


Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista says he felt "butterflies in his stomach" before facing Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.

The 24-year-old played the full 90 minutes on his Arsenal debut last Sunday and produced a solid performance alongside Laurent Koscielny in central defence.

The former Villareal defender joined the Gunners during this season's winter transfer window with manager Arsene Wenger admitting that his poor English could pose a problem.

But the Brazilian is determined to improve his English to be able to communicate with his fellow defenders.

"When I was told I would play I felt really calm, then on matchday I was still calm," Gabriel told the club's official website.

"As soon as we got to the stadium I felt butterflies in my stomach because I think it is normal for every player to feel that way. The day you stop feeling nervous is the day you should stop playing football.

"I had that feeling but as soon as I stepped on the pitch it was all gone. The feeling in my stomach went away.

"I saw that wonderful crowd, that great show, that beautiful stadium and the game became quite relaxed.

"And in relation to understanding my team-mates, I always wanted to be tuned into what [Laurent Koscielny] was doing so I could try doing the same. I tried to listen to him as well, to listen to a few words.

"In my [English] lessons I always ask the teacher to teach me the main words we use on the pitch, like 'defend, leave, go back'.

"So I had no difficulty with my defensive partner. We understood each other really well, and the most important thing is that we managed to win the game."

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Gabriel Paulista