By Richard Clarke in Austria
With 21 minutes to go in last night's match against
Genclerbirligi, the diminutive figure of Eduardo jogged on to the
pitch at the tiny Bad Waltersdorf Stadion.
It was about as low-key an entrance as you can get. Only the roar from the watching Arsenal fans would have given you any clue about the importance of this otherwise insignificant substitution.
His first contribution was a testing cross to the far post that forced the Turkish side's defender to turn the ball aside. His next consisted of a couple of stepovers on the right side and then a pin-point ball on to the head of the Freddie Ljungberg, who steered the effort narrowly wide.
They were only glimpses of potential but enough to make you believe Arsène Wenger has plucked another rough diamond from football's hinterland. However the player himself admits he'll need to polish his skills for the transition to the English game.
"I am very happy for this first match," he said afterwards. "But I know I have a lot more to do to prove myself. The rest of the squad is very good. Robin van Persie particularly impressed me tonight. But in my opinion, it is just important to be here with them and stay away from injuries.
"So far the training out here has not been difficult because we are using the ball more than we did when I was at Dinamo Zagreb.
"On the face of it, I feel there is no big difference between English and Croatian football. It is just that in English football there are a lot less mistakes and the players are physically stronger than in Croatia. I am still adjusting to my new club but it is good."
Eduardo also revealed he had forged friendships with Emmanuel Eboue, Denilson, Philippe Senderos and Alex Hleb since arriving at the Club.
On the strength of his cameo last night, he will be making a few more in the stands during the coming season.
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