By Chris Harris
Sebastien Squillaci believes his relative anonymity has made it easier for him to settle in English football.
The French defender was an established international and a consistent performer with Sevilla in La Liga before he arrived at Arsenal in late August but he remained an unknown quantity to many Arsenal fans.
Nearly three months on, Squillaci has already captained the Gunners and only three players - Alex Song, Gael Clichy and Marouane Chamakh - have started more games for the Club this season.
The 30-year-old put in another solid shift in Arsenal's 2-1 win at Everton on Sunday and he believes that his low-key introduction to the Premier League - and the large French contingent at Emirates Stadium - have helped him acclimatise.
"Yes, I think it helped [that I was a relative unknown]," Squillaci told Arsenal TV Online in an exclusive ‘Spotlight' interview.
"I knew a lot of the players and there are a lot of Frenchmen here, which always makes it easier to adapt. There are players here who I have played with for France and also against in the French league and that makes coming here not so hard.
"It's always better coming to a club where you know the players, it helps you if there are any problems and also helps on and off the pitch too.
"Adapting-wise, I knew that it [English football] would be physical with some good sides, playing good football. The strikers are big and strong and it is a great contrast with Spain where the strikers are faster and not so strong. But it's not going too badly. I'm stepping up to the challenge and it's getting easier."
The common consensus last summer was that Thomas Vermaelen would emerge as Arsenal's senior defender but the Belgian's ongoing Achilles trouble has allowed Squillaci, fellow new boy Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou to stake their claims.
Squillaci has helped steady the ship in defence but he wants to see Vermaelen return as soon as possible.
"Thomas Vermaelen got injured and still is injured and that's a shame for us because we need players like him and that brings confidence to the team," he said. "But there is competition at any big club and you also need all your players as there are injuries, lots of games every three days and so you need a good group of players to make up for this and to be able to cope.
"I hope that everyone gets fit, Thomas and everyone else so that we all get our chance and we'll be able to catch up in the league."
Subscribers can see the full 'Spotlight' interview with Sebastien from 8pm (UK time) on Friday as part of our Friday Night Live schedule. Click here for full details.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Nov 2010