Glen Kamara has revealed how a pal from Arsenal who had a spell on loan with Rangers helped sell him on a move to Scotland with Dundee.
The 21-year-old midfielder made his competitive debut for the Dark Blues on Tuesday night against Raith Rovers in the Betfred Cup.
Goals from Sofien Moussa and Jack Hendry sealed the victory for Neil McCann’s side but Kamara was arguably Dundee’s star man on the night.
As a product of the Gunners’ youth academy, the Finnish Under-21 international was used to rubbing shoulders with stars such as Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott but he found it difficult to make the breakthrough for Arsene Wenger’s side.
However, another Arsenal player, Gedion Zelalem, convinced him that he would benefit from a move to Scotland as he had done when he played for the Ibrox side two seasons ago.
Kamara said: “I didn’t know much about Scottish football but watched a bit of it because Gedion Zelalem is my friend.
“I used to watch him play in the bigger games and I spoke to him about coming here.
“He just told me it’s a good level in the SPFL, it’s not as quick as English football but there would be a chance for me to excel here.
“I know it’s going to be tough and physical up here, but I think I will handle that no problem.
“Gedion told me you get more time on the ball in Scotland, which is a good thing for me because I like to use the ball as much as I can.”
Kamara added: “Growing up at Arsenal was great. It was a very good education.
“I trained with the first team quite a bit and you realise how high the level is, so it’s always going to be tough to break through there.
“Guys like Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin are all fantastic players and they were great with the young lads.
“They didn’t push you away, they tried to help you every day in training and help you improve.
“So it was a fantastic experience but it’s so difficult to make the breakthrough there because of the quality they have.”
Kamara was delighted to get his Dundee career off to a winning start as he tries to adjust to the gentler pace of life compared to London.
He said: “We wanted to start the season with a win so we were delighted to get it late on and hopefully we’ll kick on.
“I have the same agent as Roarie Deacon so he spoke to the manager about me coming here and thankfully things worked out.
“It’s a lot quieter up here than it is in London but I have enjoyed it so far – and the weather has been decent.
“It’s great to have the season started now, I think we can improve on how we played but getting the win was the main thing.”