Antony cleared to face Arsenal in baptism of fire as he promises to give ‘blood, sweat and tears’ for Man Utd
ANTONY says he will give “blood, sweat and tears” for the Manchester United cause after completing his £85.5million switch to Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old Brazilian winger is set for a baptism of fire after being cleared to face Arsenal this weekend.
He joins up with international teammates Casemiro and Fred, plus Lisandro Martinez who he played alongside for Ajax before the defender made the same move from Amsterdam this summer.
An emotional Antony is clearly hell-bent on getting stuck into the Premier League after United raced to get his paperwork done to allow him to face the club who also wanted him, Arsenal, this Sunday.
And he is promising the same passion that has already made Argentine centre-back Martinez the club’s player of the month for August.
Antony said: “Martinez has his Argentinian style, we know it well. I love it and it motivates me to see him play. The way he competes, the way he plays he gives his heart and soul on the pitch.
“I have the same personality he knows me well and knows what I’m like. I put my body on the line – blood, sweat and tears.
“If I need to leave the pitch really hurting no problem, it’s my life, it’s my job.
“Watching Martinez, I know him well, up close. He’s a great player we can all see, people recognise this.”
It was Antony’s desire to play for United that encouraged the club to over double their first £40million offer to get him before the transfer deadline.
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Antony said: “I’ve been dreaming about this, I’ve been losing sleep thinking about it, my head and heart were here.
“Erik knows, everyone at Manchester United knows about my desire to be here and wear the United shirt.
“I can’t wait to put my boots on and start playing and helping my teammates, I’m really looking forward to it.
“I want to make history here, I hope to achieve great things with the club. I’m delighted and honoured to look at my chest and see that I’m wearing the badge of this massive club.”
His former Ajax boss Ten Hag was clearly a major factor in encouraging Antony to make the switch.
Antony said: “From the moment I arrived at Ajax he treated me so well and put his faith in me. It’s not by chance I had such a great run of form under him for two years. We developed this mutual trust and closeness.
“He’s a manager I have respect and affection for – when I found out he was moving here I wished him all the best and all the success he deserves. Now I’m alongside him once again, I hope to make history and develop and grow further under his management.”
“What stands out about him for me is his intelligence. His tactical knowledge, game strategy, attacking play and pressing game that I know very well after working with him for two years.
“With Erik’s style, I was always watching Manchester United from home and I could see this style and see myself here working with him again.”
Antony, whose position will be wide right, says he wants to follow in the footsteps of the attacking wingers that have helped make United loved around the world.
His words will certainly have Red Devils fans drawing to the edge of their seats in anticipation when he first gets that ball at Old Trafford.
He said: “I hope to continue in this tradition of exciting the fans and pleasing the crowd with my football, not just dribbling and attacking play but if I need to put in a slide tackle, trackback, help with marking, there’ll be no shortage of desire.
“I hope to provide continuity here, we have to respect the weight and tradition of the shirt.”
He admits that growing up his now teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazilian legend Ronaldinho was among those he looked up to.
He said: “They are players I always admired because of their dribbling, something I have always liked.”
For Antony it is the biggest step in a footballing journey that started in poverty back in Brazil playing barefoot in a favela.
From Sao Paulo to Ajax and now United.
He said: “I went through a lot, a lot of difficult moments in my life. I know that this will be another challenge. I went through a lot in the past, no football boots, nothing to eat, 3 or 4 in the morning bailing water out of my house as it had flooded.
“They were very difficult times but I went through it all with a smile. I’m certain it was all worth it as I’m reaping the rewards now for what was planted in the past.
“Those moments have contributed to everything I’m now experiencing.”
The end of one journey and the start of another.
He said: “Only me and my family know what we went through, the dangers we faced as well. We always remember everything we’ve been through to be living our dreams today.”
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