Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista believes teammate Laurent Koscielny is among the best defenders and wants to reach his level.
Gabriel has been an integral part of the team for Arsenal, replacing Mertesacker in the starting lineup.
The Brazilian feels he still has work to do if he is to reach his team-mate’s level, but is determined to keep improving.
“I’m really happy to be compared with such a great player,” Gabriel told Arsenal Player. “He has been showing throughout the season that he can be one of the best, or is one of the best, defenders in the world.
“I feel very happy and want to train more and more every day to be better in every match to make sure I can get to his level. I want to become one of the best defenders.
“I have to change my style a little bit [depending on my defensive partner]. When I’m playing with Mertesacker, he’s much more experienced. He plays more in his position, talks to me a lot whereas Laurent is a faster player. Laurent is more similar to me. There are a few differences but the quality of their passing is something which gives me a lot of confidence.
“Communication helps too. Sometimes at the beginning we think that it’s not important to learn English, that the important thing is to play.
“It’s obvious that it’s important to play well but communication is very important when you play in defence, so I realised it was important for the defence for me to learn English when I was playing and training.”
Arsenal, third in the Premier League, are away to Champions League qualification rivals West Ham on Saturday.