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Mikael & Amaury on show, Manuel lauds Theo

By Randy Osae

The main topic of concern ahead of another potentially fussy international break is the respective debuts for hidden summer signings Mikael Silvestre (full 90 mins.) and Amaury Bischoff (57 mins.) earlier today. A few Arsenal fans got the chance to observe the pair playing in an Arsenal shirt for the first time when in action for the club’s reserves against Stoke City.

In Silvestre’s case, he is a very familiar veteran so Amaury Bischoff was the man that many had anticipated to watch and the 21-year-old did not disappoint at all. In fact, according to Reserves’ coach Neil Banfield, the Portuguese midfielder is worth the long wait.

Banfield said: “Well I must admit, I have been very impressed with Amuary’s (Bischoff) technical qualities, he’s a very very good footballer. We just hope that he can get over his injuries and he can really do himself justice.”

In other news, Manuel Almunia revealed his perception of Theo Walcott this season. The uncapped Spanish stopper feels his young colleague has aged from a ‘bullied chicken’ on the pitch into a man who endures and orders a stop to it.

After that physical night in Kyiv a couple of fortnights ago, Walcott has shown more independence to stand up against the more muscled ones who aim to disturb his football.

The man he usually scores-on during training has realized that, and Almunia has acknowledged Theo’s newly found vigor in addition to skill.

“Theo was too nice maybe in the last two years but this season you can see that when he gets tackled he gets furious and that shows you he has changed,” said Almunia.

“When he used to take a tackle he didn’t reply with anything, he didn’t say anything to the referee or the opposing player. He would get tackled and stay on the floor, and he would never say anything. Now I like him more on the field.

“I tried to help everybody who comes to me and Theo is very nice. Sometimes he likes to speak to more experienced players, older players like me. I just spoke with him once, I told him he had to be a bit more aggressive and not so nice on the pitch because if people can kill you they will do so.”

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