By Chris Harris
Emmanuel Eboue's transformation has been one of the highlights of Arsène Wenger's season.
The Ivorian's Arsenal career reached its nadir in December 2008 when he was jeered by some sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd after being substituted during a game against Wigan. Eboue left the pitch in tears and left the stadium shortly afterwards.
But the 26-year-old has bounced back, finishing last season strongly and emerging as one of Arsenal's most reliable performers this term. His versatility, pace and drive have all been to the fore but, perhaps most importantly of all, Eboue's work ethic has won back the fans he lost.
"It's fantastic for him," said Wenger. "But I never thought it was impossible for him to win the fans back over.
"Maybe the battle was a little bit lost - but you never know. People will assess you by your attitude. I believe you can always win fans over if you have the right performances on the pitch.
"I always try to understand why [the fans react]. Fans in England will have a go at you if you don't try. But they forgive those who try hard. But sometimes it can be for different reasons. I believe for Eboue it was because he got a second yellow card at Tottenham and they judged him. But people understand body language well and when they turn against the players it's more against the body language than the players.
"But English fans are more forgiving because they love their club here more than in any other country. And if you show the right attitude and do the right things for their club then they will love you."
A clue to a player's popularity lies in the regularity with which their name is chanted by their club's fans. And even if Eboue is not one of the first names on the Arsenal team-sheet, he is one of the first on fans' song-sheet.
"Yes [he has cult status now] because he is first of all a player who is creative," said Wenger. "He is a full back or a right midfielder who can take people on and that is exciting. And he has a extroverted attitude.
"His turnaround is one of the more satisfying points of the season, but he also has a good ratio of games played and points won when he has played."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source