Samir Nasri has thanked Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton for making him a better player at Arsenal following an intimidating introduction to English football.
The 23-year-old joined the Gunners from Marseille back in 2008 and was given a warm welcome to Premier League football by Barton during one of his first games.
"During one of my first matches in England, we played Newcastle and Barton tried to intimidate me. It definitely made me a better player," admitted Nasri to France Football.
"The Premier League demands a lot of effort because there is so much intensity and you can't cheat.
"Since that day, I have improved a lot. Thank you Mr Barton!"
Boys to men
The attacking midfielder is hopeful that Arsene Wenger's youngsters will lose their 'kids' strapline this season as they bid to end a five-year wait for a trophy.
He added: "I don't know a lot of teams who are capable of spending several months without six key players.
"We managed without Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas and Andrey Arshavin for periods last season, but if we produce the goods this season then perhaps people will stop calling us kids!"