Saturday, July 11, 2020

Vela hits the headlines

Don’t ask Sheffield United about Carlos Vela.

The Blades travelled down to The Emirates on Tuesday hoping to knock a youthful Arsenal side out of the Carling Cup, but returned to South Yorkshire later that night after being hit for six.

And Vela was the chief tormentor as the 19-year old grabbed a hat-trick on his first senior start.

But Vela is not a new recruit of Arsene Wenger’s, Vela arrived in the capital in 2005 after playing a pivotal part in Mexico’s 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship win in Peru. Vela scored five goals – including the first in the final, a 3-0 win over Brazil – and came away with the tournament’s golden boot.

Arsenal against all the football odds beat off competition from Real Madrid and Barcelona to sign the youngster for £2.5million, but he was immediately sent out on loan to La Liga side Celta Viga for the rest of the 2005/06 season.

The forward spent the 2006/07 season on loan at Spanish second division side Salamanca where he made an instant impression by scoring eight goals in 31 appearances. And the following year, he proved equally impressive playing in the Primera Liga for Osasuna.

It was a learning curve that Vela is thankful for, and in the summer he said: “It has helped me. First of all it taught me what it was like being away from your home country – that helped me grow up as a person and as a player.

“I think that the Spanish and English style of football is the best in the world. I think also that playing against the best players in the world can only help me grow as a player.”

Vela won his first international cap in September 2007 and has now scored four times in 10 games for Mexico.

The Cancun-born star was fiinally granted a work permit in the summer and Wenger immediately whisked him straight into the Gunners’ first-team squad.

Vela replaced Robin van Perise in the August clash with Newcastle, but his first start came on Tuesday and with it a stunning hat-trick and the feeling that there are many more to come.


Phil Tomlinson



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