By Declan Taylor
Arsène Wenger has identified the “turning point” in Emmanuel Eboue’s Arsenal career.
The Ivorian capped a faultless display in Arsenal’s 3-1 Play-off Round second-leg victory against Celtic with a fine turn and finish after 53 minutes.
The performance, and resulting adulation from the Emirates Stadium faithful, is a far cry from last season when Eboue came under criticism from certain sections of the crowd during Arsenal’s clash with Wigan in December.
Two months later when the Gunners faced Tottenham at White Hart Lane, the Ivorian was dismissed for two bookable offences.
Speaking after Wednesday’s win, Wenger ear-marked that North London derby as the beginning of a “very uncertain time” for the midfielder. But, now back to his best, the manager believes that the 26-year-old has become a stronger person.
“Eboue is a guy who needs to be loved,” Wenger explained at his post-match press conference.
“There was a turning point after he was sent off last year at Tottenham where for a while it was very uncertain for him. It was a difficult season. But he has not talked, he has worked and he has talent.
“I believe he has matured as well, because what has happened to him has made him stronger.
“You have to deal with that or give in.”Copyright 2013 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 27 Aug 2009