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.
“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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