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‘He gave me confidence to be right back'

When Lauren arrived in north London from Real Mallorca in 2000, he came with a reputation as a versatile midfielder.

He would make his name at Arsenal as a right back, after a positional change instigated by Arsene Wenger in one of their first meetings.

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 “He said to me he believed in me, he thought that I could fit in the right-back position - that was his first idea,” Lauren told Arsenal Player.

“I knew it was a huge club and you have to [compete against] people like Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Ray Parlour, Sylvain Wiltord at the time, who used to play in midfield.

"So six or seven players for two positions and to be honest with you, at first I found playing as a right back, it wasn’t easy.

“But I’ll tell you what, [Wenger] gave me the confidence to be able to play there. I think everybody else believed in me which made it easier."

Lauren, who cemented his place in history as part of the Invincibles side, admits that he was impressed by Wenger from their very first meeting.

“My first impression when I came and signed was he was the kind of manager who tried to understand young people, to know how they can cope with a situation,” he said. “He is the kind of manager that gives you what you need to support your potential.

“He gives you the confidence, he gives you the right advice and he is the kind of manager that takes care about the technical point of view when he is working outside the pitch.”

 

Lauren representing the club in Africa

Lauren representing the club in Africa

 

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