The full-back’s move from Corinthians in 1999 paved the way for the current crop of Brazilians to take Arsenal top of the table

By The Coaches’ Voice for the Guardian Sport Network

I remember it as if it were still today. A warning repeated to me with musicality, almost like the chants of English fans at matches. “Sylvio. The pace in the Premier League is very high.” In my early days at Arsenal, that was the only thing I understood in English. But I wasn’t worried about the language – I went to London without knowing a word – the food or the English way of life. I knew it would all come. It was just a matter of time.

My only concern was adapting to the pace of the English game. If I wanted to play for Arsenal, I had to do it as quickly as possible. At Corinthians, I was the classic Brazilian full-back: a player who attacked a lot on my flank – which was the left. In fact, almost all of my actions in a game would involve running forward. I didn’t have many demands on my defensive work. All of this was also conditioned by the style of play of Brazilian football itself – a little slower than English football.

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