I've been in England for more than a year now - and I've already learned so much.
The main thing for me to adapt to was the tempo here. When I arrived, I felt like I was lacking something, like the game was being played at a much faster pace. But I worked hard, showed dedication and with the help of everyone at the club, I got myself on par with my team-mates and opponents. Now, I feel very comfortable.
On a technical level, I think I've really improved and learned so many things. That's mainly down to the calibre of players I have around me and train with every day. It's also down to the standard of player I'm coming up against every weekend.
Playing against players like this every week really pushes you to improve yourself and achieve even more. That's really important because this is a really tough league which demands a lot of you, especially in terms of energy and a touch of quality too.
It doesn't matter whether you're playing against the bottom team or the top team, you know it's always going to be a very tricky game. You can't relax for a minute because of how intense the competition is. As time has passed and I've got more matches under my belt, I've become more experienced, learned more about where I'm playing and just how tough this league is.
A part of me knew how tricky it would be before I joined, but nothing can prepare you for what it's like when you play your first Premier League game. I watched a lot of Premier League football when I was growing up because I love the sport, so I knew all about Arsenal before joining. All the rich history... I was aware of it all and knew exactly what kind of club I was joining.
There are always a lot of expectations because there are so many objectives during the season. The fans expect a lot from the team. But as time goes by, you build experience and achieve new things in your career, which is always very positive.
I'd come from Italy, so I had to adapt to the league, to a new culture and to life here too. It's a completely different experience. Last year was different for everyone as well because we had a new coach and lots of new players.
Looking back now on everything that happened, I think it was a positive season. We got to the final of the Europa League, when the club hadn’t been in a European final for many years. Sadly we couldn’t get the result and weren’t able to qualify for the Champions League, which was one of the objectives. There were positives and there were things that we need to put right, and we will certainly try to do that.
There was also that unforgettable match against Tottenham at Emirates Stadium. I remember the week leading up to it – the fans really made us understand how important the derby was. I experienced it all in that game and was able to score a really important goal to secure the win for the team. It’s obviously a goal that I’m going to remember forever.
That said, every time we walk out on to the pitch as Arsenal, regardless of who we’re playing, there’s a lot of rivalry there. All teams want to play against a big club like us, and it works the other way too, because we relish playing against the big teams in this league too.
At times there can be some anxiety, some nerves, but it’s normal for a player to feel like that when it comes to playing in big games. At the same time, they’re games you enjoy and feel very passionate about.
In my case, it’s taken a huge amount for me to get to where I am today and to be able to play in this kind of league and take on big teams that I was more used to watching on television. Being here and having those experiences is amazing, so I try to look at the positives and enjoy it all.
After all, I've learned a lot over this past year, especially about going through tough moments. As my dad always tells me, football isn’t all happiness. At times, footballers have to go through difficult times, which is normal for everyone, not just footballers.
With the help of lots of people, I’ve tried to keep moving forward and overcome the adversity. I think I’ve developed mentally more than anything – that’s really important to me – and on a footballing level, which is really important too.
My goal for the future is to play. I’m 23. All footballers want to play, to compete, to fight for your club. I want to help my team-mates to achieve our aims this season.
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