Steven Nzonzi, a member of France’s World Cup winning squad, once played for both Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City in the Premier League.
The defensive midfielder, now at Roma in Serie A, also played under current Arsenal manager Unai Emery at Sevilla, where he really made a name for himself.
So Foot in France decided to go have a chat with the former Potters man, who first arrived in England at Blackburn from Amiens where his teammates’ reaction to his rather lanky physique was an interesting one taking all things into consideration these days.
He said: “When I arrived, some players thought ‘he’s never going to play’ when they first saw me. Coming from Amiens, everything was so fast in preseason. Even the youngsters are really physical over there, and put a lot of intensity in the game, in their passes.
“The English mentality is something else, eh? They can fight with you one day and the next they’ll just casually ask you ‘how you doin’ mate? You’re OK? You’re good?’”
A move to bet365 Stadium followed his Ewood Park spell, which led to his move to Spain, which was also a shock to they system at first, but for very different reasons.
He explained: “It was so hot in Sevilla that, at first, I nearly regretted my transfer. I much prefer playing football in the rain at Stoke. It’s far easier.”
That’s not something you hear everyday.
Now a regular at Roma under Eusebio di Francesco, the 30-year-old has made 25 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring one goal and picking up one assist.