Gilberto has been both a 'father figure' and team-mate to Denilson this season.

The Brazilian midfielder has done everything possible to help his younger compatriot settle at Arsenal and has been impressed by the return he's seen on the pitch.

Denilson, 19, only arrived from Sao Paulo in August but has been one of the stars of this season's Carling Cup run.

This is despite not yet having mastered the English language, a situation Gilberto remembers all too well.

"I just make sure he is happy at the Club and that he does not feel scared of his new life," said Gilberto. "It's difficult not speaking the language in a new country. That's very, very hard. I'm trying to do with Denilson what Edu did with me.

"I'm telling him everything I can about things at the Club, about London and about the Premiership. But he has settled in so very well - and very quickly too."

 "It would be the same for any English player who went to Brazil. Until they learnt the language they would find it very hard. Denilson is trying very hard, he talks to other players and that's nice to see."

Gilberto remembers first hearing of Denilson's talents while away on international duty. The Arsenal vice-captain heard rave reviews and is delighted to see how quickly the youngster has become an asset to Arsène Wenger's first-team.

"The first time I heard about him was from the physio of the Brazil team," said Gilberto. "He told me Arsenal might be interested in him [Denilson]. Everybody told me good things about the player and he has confirmed everything that I heard.

"He is just one of many very good young players here, which is nice to know.

"The others in the squad are young but they have already shown fantastic footballing ability and fantastic character," he added.

"When you are that age you can sometimes be scared to play with name players. I know I was scared when I was 18 and 19 and playing in the first team. But they have taken their chance.

"It is amazing how quickly. And I am very happy about that. They are quality. Sometimes it needs games to get confidence and the Carling Cup has given them fantastic experience.

"There's been big pressure on them but they handle it very well. The future of Arsenal looks bright."

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24 Feb 2007