Brazilian midfielder Anderson says he is happy to spend the chilly festive period playing soccer -- and not relaxing on Copacabana beach -- as he pursues his dream of making history with Manchester United.
Until last year the 19-year-old former Gremio and FC Porto player would spend the Christmas period relaxing on one of Brazil's most famous beaches.
But since his move to Old Trafford last year the twice-capped Brazilian international has had to quickly accept the reality of English soccer moving up a gear during the festive period.
United began their post-Christmas campaign yesterday in the chilly north east at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
And while the idea takes a bit of getting used to, the samba star is happy to make the necessary sacrifices.
"I think I know what to expect because my team-mates have kept telling me how tough it is to play so many games at one time," he said.
"It is a completely new experience for me. I would usually be on the beach by now. But for once, I will have to leave my turkey on the plate and get ready to play football instead," he said.
After a delayed start to his United career, caused by his appearance at the Copa America and a minor hamstring injury picked up during pre-season, Anderson's time at Old Trafford almost stalled before it had got off the starting grid.
The teenager was part of the side stunned by Coventry in the League Cup, with suggestions arising immediately after the game that the player might be making a quick exit from the Theater of Dreams.
Those rumors were quickly dispelled by Sir Alex Ferguson, while Anderson admitted he was never seriously concerned for his future.
"That match was very difficult," he said. "But I was well aware the club knew what they were buying when they brought me here."
"A player does not show what he is worth in one match. It happens over a period of time and I am sure eventually, the fans will see what I can do," Anderson said.
If recent performances are any guide, Ferguson has unearthed a gem.
Anderson has been excelling in the most demanding midfield arena of all and came out just on top in his personal duel with Steven Gerrard in United's victory over Liverpool at Anfield a week ago.
Rather than shy away from the physical nature of the English game, Anderson appears to be revelling in it.
And, if he can add goalscoring to his repertoire, he could easily emulate the memorable feats of United's former midfield greats Bryan Robson, Paul Ince and Roy Keane.
"If you can do well in the Premier League you can do well anywhere because it is so hard here," he said. "But I was well prepared for both the mental and physical challenge."
"I have become more confident with every game I play. Hopefully, that will continue because by the time I have finished here I want to be part of Manchester United's history," Anderson said.
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