Tottenham midfielder Gedson Fernandes admits the pace of the Premier League took him by surprise, describing his early experiences of the English top flight as “completely crazy”.
The 21-year-old Portugal international joined Spurs on an 18-month loan from Benfica in January.
He made his debut as a late substitute in the goalless draw at Watford on January 18 and went on to make a further eight appearances in all competitions for Jose Mourinho's side before football was shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reflecting on his first few months in a Tottenham shirt, Fernandes admits he was taken aback by the frenetic nature of the English game, despite being familiar with the Premier League having watched matches back in his native Portugal.
“It’s completely different to what we saw on the TV,” he told the Tottenham website. “When I made my first minutes, I couldn’t believe it because everything felt so slow but at the same time everything was so fast on the pitch. It’s something different to learn.
“Mentally, I think when you play the first few minutes of a game, you feel so tired. After that you feel okay, you feel comfortable, so you can play your game but yes, in the first few minutes, they are crazy moments.
"You are alert, you want to see what’s happening but, at the same time, you have no time to wait and watch around to see where your man is. You need to be focused. Your head has to stay in the moment.
“You come from a different country and a different league, you think basically it will be the same but, in the moment, no, nothing was the same. The opposition want it more and so you have to want it even more than that. It’s completely crazy. You have to fight more. The players give their lives for the game, for the moment and they are enjoying it.”
Despite his initial surprise, Fernandes says the pace of the Premier League is what makes the division so popular across the world.
“The Premier League is more competitive, the competition is better, and it is good football,” he added. “I think the fans enjoy the game and football so much.”