FELIPE Barcelos says he will be a different and better player after his experience in Italy last season.
The 22-year-old striker has rejoined Oxford City 12 months after leaving the Conference North side to embark on an adventure at Serie D side ASD Santhià Calcio.
Barcelos spent five years at City, coming through the club’s youth system to become one of their key players after moving to Oxford from his native Brazil aged14, and he admitted it had been a difficult decision to leave.
“Everybody loved me as much as I loved them, so it was difficult for me to say I’m going to leave,” he said.
“I left because it was a new challenge and as much as I love Oxford City, I wanted to learn a different style, a different type of football.
“It helped with a lot of things, especially tactics, because in Italy they’re really tactical.
“We were semi-professional, so pretty much the same standard as Oxford City, but we trained every day.
“I got to play friendlies against big clubs like Sampdoria, Varese, Novara. I had never really had this challenge of playing against big professional clubs in England.”
Although the transition from Conference North to Italian football came as something of a culture shock, Barcelos felt the challenge had helped him mature as a player.
He added: “Playing there definitely helped me progress as a player, but mainly as a person.
“Being there by myself was difficult at the start, but all of a sudden it just clicked and I became a man.”
Barcelos feels City have made the correct decision to adopt a new style of football this season.
Last month they announced Justin Merritt as their new general manager and Enrique Guillen as head coach with an emphasis on playing ‘entertaining football’.
With Guillen’s background in futsal, Barcelos sees a bright future for the first team.
“In my opinion, futsal is the best way to create good players,” said Barcelos, who grew up with the game and only featured in 11-a-side football for the first time aged 16.
“Futsal is where you help players develop their game, because you’re always touching the ball.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t started playing futsal.”
Latest Sport news
2:00pm Friday 24th April 2015
KEMAR Roofe has an added motivation to finish the season strongly with Oxford United – he has not given up hope of playing for West Bromwich Albion.
12:00pm Friday 24th April 2015
SITTING on the bench was a rare situation for Chey Dunkley before he signed for Oxford United, but the defender is determined to come out the other side a better player.
9:30am Friday 24th April 2015
Jake Wright is one of the Oxford United players who have opened contract talks this week – and the captain has made it clear he would love to stay.
9:20am Friday 24th April 2015
IT was an embarrassment, made worse by the fact it was screened live on Sky Sports.
9:10am Friday 24th April 2015
George Baldock is unlikely to feature again for Oxford United this season, but he is on head coach Michael Appleton’s wish-list this summer.
9:00am Friday 24th April 2015
OXFORD United will be in the promotion race next season, according to Cambridge United manager Richard Money.
8:30am Friday 24th April 2015
MICHAEL Appleton says he would be in favour of installing an artificial pitch at the Kassam Stadium, if Football League rules changed.
8:00am Friday 24th April 2015
Rob Lewis, Ben Pienaar and Chris Elder have become the latest players to re-sign for Oxford-based London Welsh.
8:00am Friday 24th April 2015
AIDAN Hawtin has credited a loan spell in non-league for getting him in first-team contention at Oxford United.
7:00am Friday 24th April 2015
DIRECTOR of rugby Matt Williams says he is confident Chinnor can improve on a positive National League 2 South campaign after already signing two players for next season.