Arshavin escapes initiation song... for now

New Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin has revealed he has so far managed to escape having to sing a song as part of his initiation ceremony, although he may have to prepare his vocal chords sooner rather than later.

It is common practice at many clubs for new signings to be made to stand up and sing a song in front of the rest of his team-mates, and at Arsenal you have two choices according to the diminutive Russian.

“The club has a tradition where every rookie after dinner before a game should stand on a chair and do something," he said. "You can sing a song, or read poetry.

“I did not have to do it prior to the Sunderland game as the team’s new doctor [Gary O’Driscoll, replacing Ian Beasley who has taken up a role within the England national setup] had to undergo the procedure.”

Arshavin was finally handed his Gunners debut at the weekend, making a surprise start against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium and going close to opening his account with his new side twice in the first half.

“I think that the greatest happiness for any player is to play at the home ground, which holds 60,000 fans," he said. "The grass was perfect, just like a billiard table. It was a pleasure to play there.

"Their goalkeeper throughout the match was perfect. I think he played with no errors and helped Sunderland.

"I need some more time. This is required in order to understand the football and to get used to the other players. Because it is one thing to train together and another to play in a competitive match.”

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