HADLEIGH teenager Josh Rees said it was an “inspirational” experience to come up against Brazilian superstars Neymar, Hulk and Oscar in a training session.
The 18-year-old got the chance to test his skills against the Samba boys as they prepared for their London 2012 Olympic campaign at Arsenal’s Shenley Training Centre in Hertfordshire.
And the midfielder, who came through the Arsenal academy, said it was a tough test to keep up with the South Americans.
“They are taking the Olympics quite seriously because I don’t think they’ve won gold before, so they’ve brought over a bunch of world-class players,” he said.
“Just seeing them at the training ground was brilliant, so getting to train with them was inspirational.”
Rees took part in some possession drills and then played a part in a dummy defence against the Brazilian attackers.
“We did alright, but they had an extra man too to be fair,” he said with a laugh.
“We were getting attacked from all angles and it was hard because they have players such as Neymar, Hulk and the number 10 Oscar, who has just signed for Chelsea.
“They are so quick and you learn a lot from playing against them — you have to try to tune into the pace of how they play.
“I got so much out of an hour’s training with them.”
Rees, a former Southend High School for Boys student, made the step up to Arsenal’s reserve side last season after some impressive displays for their under-18s, and he hopes one day to make the step up into Arsène Wenger’s first team.