Writer: Jasper's Parrot
Date:Thursday January 24 2008
Birmingham's Argentinian starlet Mauro Zarate is confident he will be able to adapt to the style of football in the Premier League following his spell playing in the Middle East.
The 20-year-old, who has joined Birmingham on loan from Qatari-side Al-Sadd until the end of the season, played for the reserves against Arsenal on Monday night, just hours after completing his switch.
Zarate scored the winning goal during the final of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in the summer and is highlight rated in his native Argentina - which would explain the raised-eyebrows when he left Vélez Sársfield for Al-Sadd. However, the player explained at the time that the move - thought to have been worth $20million - was for financial reasons.
Zarate told the Birmingham Mail: "I think I can adapt. It won't be easy but given one or two games I'm sure I will think I've been here for a long time. English football is quick, physical but that is not a problem for me. In Argentina, every weekend you can follow the top games here. I know what to expect.
"I also want to work very hard in training to make sure I give myself every chance, and improve. I understand that I have to adapt as fast as possible as we don't have much time left this season. I don't have any qualms. I am very confident. I have been in Qatar away from home, now I am in England with a great opportunity I want to take."
Zarate also explained that he is at his happiest while running with the ball from out wide and breaking into the box while moving past defenders. And that sounds very good - although it is something that Zarate will find far harder to do in England than in Qatar.
The loan deal may prove to be one of the most unpredictable deals of the current transfer window but, on the surface at least, Alex McLeish has managed to bring a £10million South American wonderkid to St Andrews for a few months, and that can't be a bad thing...
Date:Thursday January 24 2008
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