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‘Derby games bring out best in everyone’

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

David Hillier says the “pride and passion” of the north London derby brings out the best in Arsenal’s players.

The midfielder emerged through the Gunners’ youth ranks, captaining them to Youth Cup glory in 1988 before helping the senior side win the league in 1991.

Hillier made 143 appearances for Arsenal and scored two goals during his 11 years at the club, and he experienced plenty of “special” games against Tottenham Hotspur.

“They started at 14 years old for me, when I was with the schoolboys,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “Our manager was Pat Rice and he had been brought up the Arsenal way, knowing what it was like to play against Tottenham.

“They put the right things into you at that age - the pride, the passion, the desire to win whatever game it was. Whether it was a cup game, a league game, it carries the same weight regardless.

“I’ve got some really good memories, but the games against Tottenham always brought out the best in everyone, with the passion knowing that they were really big games for us.

“It’s exactly the same for Tottenham players who go out there and want to beat Arsenal more than anyone, which is what makes it such a great fixture and one that you look for at the start of the season. Also, quite a few of the players who are at the club now have been there a few years so they have that taste of what it means to the fans.”

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