‘Henry made people follow Arsenal’

Francis Coquelin says Thierry Henry influenced fans in France to follow Arsenal.

The club’s record goalscorer celebrated his 38th birthday this week and remains close to a number of Arsene Wenger’s players.

Henry gave Coquelin the nickname ‘Colombo’, and the midfielder admits it is strange to be friends with one of his childhood idols.

“When I was nine or 10, at Christmas I got the Arsenal shirt with my name on the back,” Coquelin told Arsenal Player. “It was because there were a lot of French players there and Thierry was one of them.

“Even the people back in France who didn’t watch the Premier League back in the day - it is quite famous now - supported Arsenal because of the French core they had and Thierry was one of, if not the best player. So he made French people follow the club.

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“When I first saw him, it was like the feeling when I first came to Arsenal and saw all the big players here, it was something special. But I soon realised he is really straightforward and he’ll talk to you and give you advice.

“It is nice to see that a star like him can be straightforward and you can talk to him and he'll give you advice like that. I text him now, and have a laugh when I see him - if you had told me that 15 years ago I would have said, ‘Yeah alright!’”

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