Not many teenagers have the chance to meet their heroes - but Jeff Reine-Adelaide is an exception.
Our French midfielder was born in the year that his country won the 1998 World Cup. He grew up idolising the likes of Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, and still has vivid memories of meeting them for the first time at London Colney.
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“I thought I was dreaming,” Reine-Adelaide told Arsenal Player. “I just couldn’t take it in. When I saw them for the first time, I asked myself two or three times if it was really them. I kept looking to make sure it was them.
“Thierry Henry worked with us in training last year. Robert Pires is helping with our training this year.
“I listen to them carefully because they give us a lot of useful advice. I try to retain as much possible so I can make use of it.”
Reine-Adelaide credits another of his compatriots with helping him settle in at the club.
“When I first arrived, it was hard because of the language barrier,” he explained. “When I couldn’t understand instructions in training, I would ask Francis [Coquelin] and he would help me interpret into French. He was a huge help to me.
“Whether things were going well or badly, he was always there to help out. If I had a problem, he was there, if I had a bad training session, he was there.
“He talked to me every day and helped me set goals. I owe him a lot. When I played in my first Emirates Cup, he spoke to me and made me feel at ease on the pitch. He has made a massive difference.”
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