The Italian marksman completed a £14 million switch from Napoli to St. Mary’s at the end of January and made an immediate impression on the Saints’ faithful.
Four goals in his opening six games included one after just 12 minutes on his debut and two in the League Cup final against Manchester United – and he could not believe he was able to adapt to a new club and culture in double-quick time.
Speaking exclusively in the June 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out now, Gabbiadini says: “I came here with a desire to do the best I could, but I’ll be honest, not even I believed I could score six times in four matches. When you change team, change team-mates and change country, you change the way you play. It’s a different kind of football, but I didn’t think I could adjust this easily.
“The secret is that my team-mates, the manager and everyone else at the club all put their faith in me from the start. Without my team-mates I wouldn’t have done anything. And I need to thank the boss – after I signed I had my first training on the Wednesday and by the Saturday I was in the starting XI, whereas in Italy this sort of thing is a bit rare.”
Gabbiadini partly attributes his goal-laden introduction to English football to the more attacking style of the Premier League, compared to the Italian top flight. And while he refuses to label either division better or worse, he feels that the Premier League is more fun for forwards than Serie A as they get more chances to score.
“In Italy it’s more tiring because the defenders are all back there, so you have to stay calm as you move the ball around and wait for someone to make a mistake,” he explains.
“As an attacker, I would say you enjoy yourself more in England. The defenders enjoy themselves less! They often find themselves in a two-against-two situation, two-against-three. I have to say, for a defender, the Premier League is harder. For an attacker, I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but it’s definitely more fun.”
Read much more from Manolo Gabbiadini in the June 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, in which we profile Barcelona and Brazil superstar Neymar and his quest to take on Lionel Messi’s mantle as the best player on the planet. Also this month, we slip on a neon jacket and become a steward for a day at The Hawthorns, speak to Chelsea defender David Luiz about his successful return to Stamford Bridge, go One-on-One with former Germany international Christian Ziege, review 23 of the game’s maddest owners and remember when Manchester United stopped Liverpool from completing the Treble in the 1977 FA Cup Final. Order it now, then subscribe!