Arsenal exciting youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide has spoken of the importance of working alongside club legends Thierry Henry and Robert Pires during his time at the club.
Joining from Lens in the summer of 2015, Reine-Adelaide has become one of the few talented young stars to taste first team action in the Cup competitions this season.
The 19-year-old revealed his to joy to have worked under Henry with the U19 Arsenal side as well as training alongside Pires with the senior team.
“All players and children should look at how Henry and Robert Pires conduct themselves nowadays because they are exemplary,” the midfielder told Arsenal Player.
“They are straightforward, always ready to chat with us and have a laugh. They spend a lot of time with the young players, talking things through and giving advice.”
Many Frenchman, let alone French Arsenal fans would kill to not only play at the club but also dine with the clubs record top scorer – and that’s exactly what Reine-Adelaide had the pleasure of enjoying as Henry took his compatriot under his wing on several occasions.
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“Away from the pitch, I’ve gone out for a meal with Thierry Henry two or three times and he is a really great guy. He has always been very supportive to me and I am grateful to him for that.
“I always admired Henry’s – I don’t want to use the word arrogance – his assuredness, his confidence. He knew exactly who he was. He had such confidence and he was a leader. As for Pires, I admired the fact that he kept it simple on the pitch, defended well and was incredibly skilful too.”
The French duo has clearly had a huge impact on the midfielder, and it is likely part of the reason why Reine-Adelaide is so happy at the club with massive names like Pires floating about offering key advice, however now to a lesser extent Henry.
Arsenal have been guilty of letting several of our elite stars leave the club over the years and not allow them to grow and learn under the tutorship of Arsene Wenger as a coach. Steve Bould is the rare exception, with the likes of Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp plying their trade elsewhere, while Henry was unable to rejoin the youth team coaching setup with his role as Sky Sport pundit the deterrent. The club legend has since joined Robert Martinez in the Belgium national team setup.
It is clear the effect of having established mentors at the club is brilliant for developing young talent and the lack of it is a real concern with Freddie Ljungberg the latest to leave for Wolfsburg. With Wenger’s departure becoming increasingly close, establishing several key ex-stars would be a wise move to ensure the ethos and style the Frenchman established at the club continues.
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