Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Gabriel Paulista is ready for first team action.
Speaking before the Aston Villa match press conference, Arsene said that in Paulista he saw a high quality defender.
“What I saw was a great quality for a defender,” he said. “[He has a] good level of concentration, he’s physically able to adapt to the Premier League because he is quite a good size and he’s quick as well.
“He has great commitment in the challenges and he’s young. He’s 24 years old and that’s a good age for a central defender. He’s ready to go – he’ll be in the squad [for Sunday] certainly. He started training yesterday and he looks fit.
“You always need time to adapt, especially in a defensive position because you need to know your partners. At the moment he does not speak a word of English and that can cost you goals. If you mix going forwards with going backwards, it can cost you.
“It is a position where you need to know your partners and you need to communicate as well. We will try to teach him the important words. ‘Offside’ for example or ‘Look at the linesman’!”
Arsene also confirmed that Paulista would be competing with Mertesacker and Koscielny for a spot in the starting XI.
“He’s a specialist at centre back because we’ve played many times this season with Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal out of position, who did quite well,” the manager said.
“But it gives us another specialist in this position. We now have three and with the fixtures we have in front of us that is needed.
“We are in a job where competition exists and people of the moment play. Form is swinging and as well nobody is absolutely in top form for 365 days so you have to accept that.”
Arsene also praised goalkeeper Szczesny’s work ethic in trying to win back his place in the team. He said, “Of course he works very hard. He has responded very well. He is 100 per cent committed in training and works harder than ever. At the moment, the competition is there. I just always have to make the decision who plays the next game.
Yes, for me that is the most important when a player is questioned at some stage – how he responds shows you his strength of character, and on that front Wojciech has done extremely well until now.”
Arsene agreed that the mood in the squad is at an all season high but expressed caution. “Maybe, but we have to be very cautious with the mood in our job because the swings are very quick so the best way you can deal with that is… it helps to get the next result. You need a good balance between an optimistic mood and urgency as well. we are in a job where of course you want the level of concentration very high and that is what we want to achieve now. We go into a period in the next four months that will decide our season. we have to be conscious that our commitment has to be 100 per cent.”