Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has revealed how he took a leaf out of Arsene Wenger's book with his softly-softly approach to Christian Benitez, reports the Birmingham Mail. With no Ecuador fixtures during the recent international schedule, Benitez has finally been able to have a well-earned break from competitive action.
The South American striker arrived in England below peak fitness and McLeish gradually introduced him into the first-team fold with a series of substitute appearances.
"He came and the word was he wouldn't be ready for the Manchester United game. He hadn't done a lot of running and he hadn't done a lot of fitness stuff due to the shoulder injury," explained McLeish.
"He then started light running but without any contact so to get him up to speed in terms of the Premier League - any player - is not easy.
"Arsene Wenger still talks about it taking time for players to settle into a club, especially the foreign ones, and you are very lucky if you can sign two or three players and they all hit the ground running."