By Richard Clarke 

Emmanuel Eboue is a changed man, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Arsenal midfielder had a terrible time against Wigan at Emirates Stadium on December 6 last season. He came on for Samir Nasri in the 32nd minute but never settled into the game. An error-strewn performance drew criticism from the crowd and he was hauled off himself just before the end.

Since then Eboue has knuckled down, improved and, in fact, become something of a cult hero among the Arsenal crowd. Ahead of the repeat fixture on Saturday, his manager paid tribute to the turnaround.

“I think he has learned from that [incident] and changed,” said Wenger.

“It is very difficult to describe how he was in the dressing room but, of course, he was highly disappointed. He is a sensitive boy so we tried to help him a little bit.

“Eboue is a guy who wants to do well. He is humble and decent to people. And when you have that in life you always have a chance to improve your behaviour. If you only think you are right you cannot improve.

“He analysed well what happened and changed. But he has always been a good guy, loved in the dressing room.

“Overall we knew he was a quality football player and now he has just become focused on that.”

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18 Sep 2009