sports gazette

Scapin shares insight into Willian's off-pitch life, and Kane's early promise

Brazilian buds: Willian Borges and Matheus Scapin
Published: 15 May 2016

Brazilian futsal player Matheus Scapin – who is set to sign for Super League South giants London United this summer – shared insight into Chelsea players Willian and Oscar’s off-pitch persona, and also told of the promise Tottenham Hotspurs’ purple patch of academy graduates showed at youth level.

Scapin played alongside Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Tom Carroll during his time in Spurs’ youth setup before a troublesome hip injury curtailed his own hopes of making it in the professional game.

Now playing futsal – a version of football with its frenzy more controlled – the 20-year-old revealed what this array of established Spurs’ players were like as teenagers.

He said: ‘‘You could see at the age they were 17, 18, you could see that they had something different from all the other players, for example Harry Kane used to stay after training to spend at least ten minutes on shooting after training sessions.

‘‘Hard work will always lift you to success and it’s been proved, Ryan Mason and these guys, always wanted more, always wanted to learn more, listening to the coach and following what they believed was right.

‘‘It gives me great pleasure to watch them play in such a league as the Premier League because they deserved it. It was not something like they got lucky because they got this contact, they had to work hard and they deserve it all.

‘‘They were normal players inside the changing room, always talking to you, kind and trying to make fun you know, having fun with training sessions and enjoying themselves but when things were serious they were serious as well, very professional and that’s how they’ve reached the first team and the national team.’’

Kane’s success is well-documented, having already scored 64 goals in 126 appearances during his young Spurs career, but the 22-year-old wasn’t the only player to show potential.

Mat said: ‘‘At that time, Andros Townsend, Danny Rose when he came from Leeds United aged 17, and Nabil Bentaleb stood out as well. Obviously Harry Kane was always scoring goals since he was young, it’s something he always loved to do, he was always there, kept it simple as well. But yeah, I think these guys were the ones I knew were going to make it.’’

The Spurs talents are not the only Premier League footballers Mat has shared company with, as good friends of Willian and Oscar, the Brazilian shared an insight into how footballers relax away from the frenetic stardom of the English top flight – and it’s not by playing more football.

He said: ‘‘We played once at a barbecue just between each other, you know, have some fun but it wasn’t serious because they’re not even allowed in case of injuries.

‘‘They’re normal human beings – they eat, they drink – but they’re very humble people. I think the Brazilian nature itself, Brazilian people, we tend to be very warm and kind, so they’re always smiling and welcoming.

‘‘When we get together we usually don’t talk about football because – we were having the conversation the other day – football is something for them that is their job, and they want to leave their job outside of the house, when we’re round there we’re friends, and it’s like let’s talk about everything but football.

‘‘Of course, everyone’s going to talk about how the game went and all this stuff but it’s not something they mention a lot. It’s something that, if you don’t start the conversation, we’ll never talk about it.’’

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