The ex-Juventus and Manchester United star has told the 24-year-old that he needs to bulk up and says the coming weeks will be a test of his mentality
Patrice Evra has told Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe that if he is going to make the grade in the Premier League, he will have to work on the physical side of his game.
Ex-France international Evra, who made the move from Ligue 1 to Manchester United in 2006, struggled initially with the rigours of life in English football.
Along with Nemanja Vidic, he took to the gym, improved his bulk and became a long-time servant of the Old Trafford club, winning many honours over the years.
And according to Evra, this is the path that Pepe, 24, must follow if he is to improve his fortunes after a slow start following a big-money summer move from Lille.
“I think the big price tag doesn’t help, it puts pressure on,” Evra told Sky Sports . “I think some fans don’t understand that it doesn’t mean that if we bought you for £70m or £100m you will score 30 goals.
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did but he has been playing for many years, he’s been scoring many goals for many years. So you have to give time to Pepe, I believe in this player.
“I think he just needs to realise the Premier League is completely different to the French league.
“He should be stronger so maybe he should go in the gym, build a massive body and you will see.”
Evra believes that the next period of Pepe’s career will be a test of how strong his will is.
“I want to see if now mentally he will be strong enough, like myself,” the 38-year-old, who retired in the summer, added. “I came to Manchester, my first six months, even Paul Scholes would say he was thinking and joking ‘we should sell him back to AS Monaco’ but those things helped me, they made me stronger.
“When people were laughing at me and Vidic in a reserve game, some people were saying we are so poor but after we proved they are wrong.
“Why? Because I worked hard in the summer and we became the players we were.
“So let’s see if mentally Pepe will be ready but I believe in this player.”
The Ivory Coast international has just one goal in 11 appearances for his new club.