Alex Song believes good, honest hard work is the secret to his success this season.

The Cameroon international has been his usual solid self in front of the Arsenal back four but has added potency to his game with three goals in his last four appearances, including the all-important winner against West Ham last week.

Arsène Wenger revealed recently that Song had stepped up his efforts on the training pitch and was reaping the rewards in matches. The man himself agrees wholeheartedly and admits he has matured since he arrived at Arsenal in 2005.

“Yes, I started pre-season a week earlier after the World Cup," Song told the Official Matchday Programme. "I worked hard and it helped me a lot, and I have improved on the pitch.

“You don’t think the same way at 23 as you do when you are 17. I am more mature now. When people try to help you when you are 17 you don’t always realise they are trying to help, so maybe you don’t listen as much, but when you get older you really want to learn as much as you can.

"Today I always ask people what I have done wrong, so I can change it. It’s good to listen to people with experience. When the boss says I can improve, I believe him, because he just has to remind me what I was like when I arrived. It’s working. Everything is here at this club to be a big player, the rest is down to yourself.

“I think I did well last season but I really wanted to show I could do more this year, so I’ve really been pushing myself.”

Song's scoring exploits have hogged the headlines in recent weeks but he also appeared in the news for reportedly asking the Cameroon captain Samuel Eto’o for the same watch he gave to Usain Bolt.

The Arsenal midfielder was quick to put the record straight.

“No, I have never asked for a watch from anybody at any time,” he stated firmly. “The Cameroon team all received watches from Samuel Eto’o during the World Cup, but I was not the instigator, it was a gesture from him to the team.

“He told everyone in the squad he would buy us a watch each if we qualified for the World Cup, and it’s been quoted recently that I went to him at the end of the Morocco game when we qualified, saying that I wanted the same watch he bought Usain Bolt.

"That’s not true, I didn’t even speak to him after the game. Why would I say that? I thank God that I am in a good position today that if I want to give anything to my family,  I can. I don’t know why someone would say this.”

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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8 Nov 2010