Kevin Campbell has claimed that Arsenal summer signing Fabio Vieira needs to ‘build his body up’ if he wants to get used to the rough and tumble nature of the Premier League, as he told the Highbury Squad.
On Thursday, Vieira was handed his first start in Arsenal colours when Mikel Arteta’s side beat a resilient FC Zurich 2-1 on their opening Europa League campaign in Switzerland and Campbell added that the club’s new signing has ‘a lot to learn’.
Arsenal paid £34 million for Vieira’s services in the summer when he arrived from FC Porto (Sky Sports) and he joined to, ironically enough, bulk up Arteta’s squad.
Now, he has done that and it allows his manager to rest and rotate captain, Martin Odegaard, when the fixtures pile up and that is now going to be the case during these coming months.
A player who can operate as a number ten or number eight, Vieira is somebody who is a one-touch footballer, a player that sits in those pockets, defends, creates and attacks with the ball.
All of this is just a case of his body having to get used to new surroundings, as Campbell shared his thoughts on the player.
“It was his first start and it was always going to be a tough one,” said Campbell. “Look, the opposition weren’t great. And you know what they are going to do about it? Is make up for it with grit and that’s what they did.
“I thought Vieira. We saw flashes of quality. The one quality we did see was him releasing Eddie down the left-hand side for the goal. Showed good touches. They had a bit more grit in midfield and that’s what he has to learn. He is playing for Arsenal now. When Arsenal turn up, you are going to get the best of everybody else.
On Vieira falling down a lot: “At the end of the day, he has to get used to the physicality. People know he can play. People know, that if you give him space and time, then he’s a good player and he will hurt you. What’s the first thing they are going to do? Stop him playing. Get into him and make sure he can’t get his head up.
“He has a lot to learn. He has to build his body up, that’s for sure. I thought it was an okay start considering it was his first start.”
EUROPA LEAGUE CAN HELP NURTURE ARSENAL’S TALENTED STARS
It seems as though Arteta won’t be going 100% full-strength when it comes to the Europa League, which would then allow some back-up stars, such as Eddie Nketiah, Marquinhos and Vieira to shine.
A number of years ago, that was the door Emile Smith Rowe went through to become a first-team regular, but his starts have reduced of late because of Gabriel Martinelli’s form and Odegaard in midfield.
Arsenal fans will be hoping, during the early stages of their Europa League journey, a few unknown names stand up and provide their manager with a selection headache.
If Arteta goes into the second half of the campaign unsure who to pick between two in-form players, then it will only suit Arsenal.