Mathieu Flamini says it was Pat Rice who made him appreciate the magnitude of the north London derby.
Saturday will be Flamini’s fourth clash with Tottenham since returning to the club and his ninth local derby since 2004.
The Frenchman now knows what is expected on the occasion, but only because of the Arsenal legend’s warning 10 years ago.
"I remember Pat Rice telling me, ‘Wait until you play Spurs, then you will see what a real game is’"
“I’d just moved here,” the 30-year-old told Arsenal Player. “I was a young boy and I was already impressed by the speed of the Premier League, but I remember Pat Rice telling me, ‘Wait until you play Spurs, then you will see what a real game is’.
“You feel this one more [than other derbies] because everyone started talking about it a week ago. Not just the team and the staff, but the people working around the club and at the training ground - everyone is telling you that you’d better get ready.
"It’s a really important game that we must win. It’s the kind of game where you have to commit 100 per cent. If it’s half—hearted it won’t work. You have to put your life on the pitch for the fans. You have to give everything for them.”