Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger runs the rule on Gabriel Paulista’s debut

Arsene Wenger says he was happy with Gabriel's debut performance

Arsene Wenger believes “intelligent” Gabriel Paulista will be able to cope with the language barrier after the defender made his Arsenal debut in a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

The uncapped Brazilian helped the north London side keep a clean sheet on his first start for the club after the 24-year-old move to Arsenal from Villarreal in a £16m deal in January.

The 24-year-old had little to do as the home side largely dominated proceedings, but Arsenal manager Wenger was keen to stress his new signing’s qualities after the win.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Wenger said: “Gabriel Paulista made a great recovery tackle in the box. He wants to defend, he has good urgency levels and a good physique and technical qualities.

“He is short language-wise but the intelligent players compensate with vision. He looks at what his partners are doing, and he did that well.”

Wenger added: “I like Gabriel’s performance, it was focused and determined. He played a little bit with the hand-brake on offensively.”

Paulista started alongside centre-half Laurent Koscielny as Wenger decided to rest Germany international Per Mertesacker for the FA Cup clash.

The former Villarreal defender made 50 appearances for the Yellow Submarine in all competitions after signing a five-year deal upon his La Liga move.

Arsenal will find out their FA Cup quarter-final opponents in Monday night’s draw.

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