West Ham winger Felipe Anderson has admitted that he was surprised by the pace of the Premier League, despite being warned prior to his arrival from Lazio that the intensity of English football would be completely different.
The 27-year-old is approaching the halfway stage of the four-year deal he signed in the summer of 2018; a move that saw him become the Hammers' then club-record signing.
Anderson netted an impressive nine Premier League goals in his first season as West Ham secured a top ten finish under Manuel Pellegrini, transitioning seamlessly - or so it seemed - from life in Naples to the east end of London.
But in an interview with 90min, conducted in his native language of Portuguese, Anderson has acknowledged the vast difference in intensity between English and Italian football, revealing he struggled early on in his West Ham career to last the full 90 minutes.
"The difference is incredible. It's a big difference. I felt, in my first 10 games, I couldn't play more than 70 minutes because of the intensity," Anderson said.
"Because in Italy it was more compact, the team went out more together. Here is a lot of running, a lot of speed. There were 10 games saying: Wow, they told me it was intense, but I didn't expect all of that. Then I had to work on the physical part, to be able to take it - because it is very close, it is very strong."
Anderson, like so many others, has been forced to isolate at home and train individually because of the coronavirus outbreak, but a return to action could be on the cards after the government approved plans to resume training in 'small groups'.
Despite that promising move, it's unlikely that Anderson will be back in Premier League action for at least a month - while details of how to safely proceed are worked out - but he did have a message for West Ham's supporters about a potential resumption.
"Hello West Ham fans. I miss you, to see you filling the stadium, but we still have to stay home" he added. "I hope, as soon as I have the opportunity to play, to do my best to you, for you and for our West Ham. A big hug, be with God."
Anderson also included teammates Pablo Zabaleta, Declan Rice and Manuel Lanzini in his ideal XI of teammates that he's played with over the course of his career, as well as Brazil megastar Neymar and Bayern Munich's German legend Miroslav Klose.
Source : 90min