Torquay United’s new striker Guy Gnabouyou says that having fellow Frenchman Vincent Dorel at Plainmoor is a bonus, but he would have no trouble tackling his new life in England anyway.
At 28, Gnabouyou has already sought his fortune far from home, playing in the top divisions in Greece, Malta and Finland, and for someone who has never lived in this country before, his English is excellent.
Head coach Gary Owers revealed: “When we sat down to talk about him signing, I made sure that Vincent was there, so he could help with any translations.
“I needn’t have bothered – Guy understood everything and could speak for himself, no problem.”
Gnabouyou, who started his career with his hometown club Marseille before winning France under-21 honours, said: “Of course it’s good to have Vincent here, and we talk a lot, but I would have been fine on my own.
“I have always wanted to play in England – it has the best and strongest leagues.”
One of Owers’ scouting contacts had alerted him to Gnabouyou, and the approach came from the Gulls’ boss.
“I had finished the season in Finland (FC Inter Turku) when I heard that Torquay had called – I checked the club out and I was interested straight away,” Gnabouyou said.
“After training on trial, I saw my first game (Maidstone 0-1) and thought ‘There is no way this team can be bottom of the league’.
“The intensity here is different from where I have been, but it’s a good standard.
“Of course, I am here to score some goals, but I have to try to understand the way the coach wants me to play, and I believe that he can make me a better player, especially pressing the (opposition) defence and playing without the ball.
“Everything is a plus. I am not under pressure, and I am really excited to be here.”
Gnabouyou was expected to be on United’s bench against Aldershot Town yesterday, but he made his debut in a ten-minute substitute appearance in the 3-0 home over Ley- ton Orient last weekend.
United were cruising to victory at that stage, and Gnabouyou had few chances to show what he could do, but he made a series of instinctive ‘striker runs’ across the Orient goalmouth which augured well for the future.