Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho: Manchester United-owned Nani was my example

Arsenal-linked midfielder William Carvalho reflects on his initial years at Sporting Lisbon when Nani used to help him.

Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho is widely reported to be on the radar of Arsenal, but it is a Manchester United player who he owes much in his career.

The Portugal international has been at Sporting since he was 13 years of age and is now a first-team regular, but during his early days at the Lisbon outfit, he was under the wing of Nani.

‘When I was 13 I played for Sintra against Sporting’, Carvalho told the Champions Magazine. ‘When they called me, I didn’t hesitate. When I came to Sporting they put me on the phone with Nani, who had been in the first team for a year or two.

‘He told me what he had gone through to reach the first team. He said that Sporting was a team that relied on their youth education and, as a Sporting fan, I had Nani and Miguel Veloso, who I also admired, as an example’.

Carvalho enjoyed a breakthrough season at Sporting in 2013-14 and was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

The 22-year-old is rated as a hugely promising defensive midfielder, and the Gunners’ lack of a player of similar quality saw them linked with a bid for the youngster.

United were also reported to be interested, but nothing concrete materialised. There are suggestions that Arsenal could make a move for Carvalho again next summer.

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