Adapting to life in England was a slow process for Gabriel Sara but the Brazilian feels that is getting close to rediscovering his best form at Norwich City.

The 23-year-old joined the Canaries in a £6million deal from Sao Paulo in the summer, becoming the first player to join the club directly from South America after City stepped up their operations in the continent after Brexit. 

When Sara came to Norwich, he was in the process of recovering from ankle surgery which saw Dean Smith adopt a more cautious process of bedding him into the squad. 

In the last three matches, Sara has scored from the bench against Stoke and taken real strides forward with positive performances against Rotherham and Middlesbrough. 

Supporters have even serenaded him with a version of Abba's single Voulez Vous - and it has the approval of the man himself. 

"I was happy with the music. The fans here [England] are very different from the Brazilians," he said. "They are calmer here, I even joke with my girlfriend because she is screaming all the time and it's not their normal thing."

Sara arrived at Norwich with a hefty price tag relative to the club's spending and high expectations. 

Smith described his physical statistics as being 'crazy' when asked why he opted to draft Sara in from Sao Paulo. Whilst recovering from his injury, displaying that particular element of his game proved testing for the Brazilian. 

"When I arrived at Norwich it was difficult. I was in transition after the surgery. I felt my ankle failing, it was a difficult process. I arrived with high expectations, I was trying my best, but it was difficult," he told UOL Esporte.

"I didn't play much in Brazil, I had injuries and now that I've recovered my game rhythm I'm back in a better phase. It was difficult, but they gave me all the structure I needed here."

Sara's move to England ended a long-standing relationship with Sao Paulo, where he developed as a youngster. 

His move to Europe with Norwich saw him edge closer to achieving his ultimate dream of playing Premier League football. 

Despite only being at the start of his footballing journey, Sara does hope to return to the six-time Brazilian champions to complete what he perceives to be unfinished business. 

"For sure [I think about returning to Sao Paulo]. Sometimes I think about my future going back to Sao Paulo one day, and my girlfriend even jokes that it's early, that I just have to think about it later on. One day I will return, and I will fulfill all my dreams there," he said.

Sara's best spell as a Sao Paulo player came under the management of Fernando Diniz, someone he refers to as a 'father figure' because of how he handled his development.  

When Sara was coming under increasing pressure from supporters for a poor run of form in the side, Sao Paulo released a video of Diniz telling the midfielder: "The fans won't kill you. Social media won't do anything to you".

The coach gave Sara the confidence to develop despite criticism from some quarters - and even offered him advice before he boarded the plane to complete the formalities of his Norwich move. 

"Diniz was one of the people who helped me the most when I started playing," Sara said. "He was being criticised a lot, and he told me that it was important to filter the criticism. I brought a lot of maturity from that time. 

The Pink Un: Gabriel Sara is a hit with Norwich City's supporters. Gabriel Sara is a hit with Norwich City's supporters. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

"A conversation with Diniz boosted me a lot. Usually in football you see a person being criticised, but people don't try to lift each other up. Diniz hit my chest, he defended me. It was a change for me. From that moment on, I started to play better.

"I don't even know what to say about him, he was a father to me. The guy is special in every way: tactically and personally. He doesn't give up on being a player, he believes in the person that the player is. That was essential for my career, and for my growth.

"Even when I came to England, I was at the airport and he called me to talk about it. He showed me lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life. God willing, I want to work together with him again".