Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Wesley living the dream ahead of his debut for Brazil

Aston Villa forward is set to win his first cap either against Argentina in Saudi Arabia or South Korea in the UAE

To play in the English Premier League and then make his Brazil debut is a ­“childhood dream” come true for Wesley.

The Aston Villa forward is set to earn his first cap for Brazil in the friendlies against ­Argentina in Saudi Arabia on Friday and South Korea at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi next Tuesday.

“I always been dreaming of this moment and it’s become a reality,” Wesley said after the team’s training session at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

“The players and the technical staff gave me a very warm reception when I arrived here in Abu Dhabi. This is not one and all for me, I have more dreams, like to play for Brazil in the World Cup. But this is a great start.”

Wesley, 22, began his career at Brazilian side Itabuna before moving to Trencin in the Slovak Super Liga and subsequently Club Brugge where he won two league titles and named the Belgian young player of the year in 2018.

“I had a great time at Brugge,” he said. “I adapted quickly and played more than 100 games. I won both the best young player and best player awards.

“In the Premier League, I got more exposure and [so] selected for Brazil. In England, they compare me with Didier Drogba and Diego Costa, and I agree with them. My physique matches them but I’m fast on the pitch despite being tall. This is my characteristics.

“In Brazil, I didn’t have opportunities so I decided to go to Europe to try my luck. Thank god, things started to happen to me and I’m now the player I wanted to be.”

Wesley revealed the first ­person he called was his mother when he was selected for Brazil. His father died from a brain tumour when Wesley was aged just nine.

“My mom was the one who helped all the way through after the death of my father,” he said. “She took me to the grounds and watched me play football.”

Wesley said he loved the weather in Abu Dhabi and was looking forward to the two friendlies.

“I don’t like the cold weather in England and it was perfect weather when I arrived in Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“Brazil versus Argentina is one of the biggest derbies in the world. It would be another great moment for me, if I’m picked to play in this game.”

Brazil teammate Willian, who plays for Villa’s Premier League rivals Chelsea, this week said Wesley has adapted well to English football.

“He’s doing great, I’ve been following his games a little,” Willian told Globo Esporte. “He is a player who is very well adapted, looks like he’s been in England for a while, scoring goals. I hope he can be happy in the Brazilian team too.”

Joining Wesley at the post-training press ­conference was another debutant in ­Rodrygo, the 18-year-old ­forward who is making a huge impact at Spanish giants Real Madrid.

“I have been a professional only for two years and I never imaged I would get a call up from Brazil this fast,” he said.

“Everything has come so fast for me. There are several big names in this squad but I’m prepared and ready to take up any role in the team.

“I can play in the centre and on both sides, and manager Tite will decide where to fit me in this line-up.”

Updated: November 13, 2019 01:37 PM

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