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Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s first kit was Arsenal as he loved Thierry Henry

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Chelsea star Ruben Loftus-Cheek loved Arsenal legend Thierry Henry growing up (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea and England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has revealed his first football kit was an Arsenal one as he loved Gunners legend Thierry Henry growing up.

Former France international Henry remains Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer, having scored 228 goals in 376 appearances for the north London club.

Henry was particularly prolific during the early 2000s and helped Arsenal win the Premier League in 2001-02 and 2003-04 and go unbeaten through that latter campaign.

Asked about his first football kit, Loftus-Cheek told Chelsea’s official website: ‘It was actually an Arsenal kit when I was about six because I really liked Thierry Henry at the time.

‘It was obviously very shortly after that I started with Chelsea at the academy.’

Loftus-Cheek joined Chelsea’s academy in 2004 at the age of eight and went on to make his first-team debut for the Blues a decade later.

Henry remains Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer (Picture: Getty)

The midfielder, who signed a new five-year deal at Stamford Bridge last summer, believes Chelsea are going in the right direction under Frank Lampard.

Lampard has enjoyed an impressive debut season in charge of his former club, with Chelsea currently fourth in the Premier League.

Reflecting on Chelsea’s season so far, Loftus-Cheek added: ‘The young boys have done really well so credit to them. They’ve shown that they can play at this level and help the team win.

‘The gaffer always said he would play academy players but they have to be doing well to play.

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‘That’s really encouraging for the youngsters coming through the academy in the future that they have a gaffer who’s willing to play them if they show they can play at the level.

‘The whole squad have done really well this season, especially having no new players coming in and the team being very young.

‘Considering those things and a new manager with new tactics and a new way of playing, we’ve done really well to be where we are at the moment.

‘We’ve had times on the pitch where we know ourselves that we need to improve but that’s just football and if we can improve on what we’ve talked about as a collective then we could really be a team that’s in contention for titles in the future.’

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Man Utd’s Scott McTominay names Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira among midfield role models

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Scott McTominay has scored some big goals for Man Utd but wants to do more (Picture: Getty Images)

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has named Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira among his three midfield role models, while he also feels teammate Paul Pogba is a source of inspiration.

The 23-year-old has continued his impressive development at Manchester United this season, slowly growing his influence in the team.

An injury has kept him out of action for a substantial amount of the second half of the season, but he was forcing his way back into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side before the coronavirus hiatus.

Building a reputation as a box-to-box midfielder, capable of fulfilling most roles in central midfield, McTominay says he looks at players like Vieira, Zinedine Zidane and Roy Keane for inspiration.

‘For myself, someone who’s quite strong and a good runner, I should be testing teams more than I do,’ McTominay told Manchester United’s Box To Box.

‘I should be breaking lines similar to what Paul [Pogba] does, drive into the box and create chances.

‘We always have to have that balance of one goes and one sits, which is so important for a midfield player.

‘Being box-to-box, there’s some amazing examples: Zidane, Patrick Vieira, Roy Keane, driving through the middle of the pitch and were exceptionally good at it.

‘For me it’s important to keep watching clips like that, I get the guys to send them over as much as they can to analyse it.

Patrick Vieira became one of the best midfielders on the planet at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

McTominay has scored five goals this season, including his memorable long-range strike against Manchester City in March, and wants to add more goals to his game.

He wants to become the strong, forward runner that the likes of Vieira was and he feels Pogba typifies in the modern game.

‘You’ve got the physique and the presence to hold people off and the burst of speed where you can get through as well,’ continued the Scotland international.

‘There’s so many good examples of it in world football. Paul’s probably one of the best examples of it, he’s very, very powerful and gets across the grass really, really quickly.

‘It’s a dangerous tool to have in the middle of the pitch as well.’

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Solskjaer has predicted a long and successful future at Old Trafford for the young midfielder, praising his versatility last year.

‘It won’t be hard to see him play many, many games for Man United, because he has got such a great mentality,’ said the Norwegian.

‘He is so athletic, he can play in different positions. Today we feel that’s his best position, like a high midfielder, but he can play in that defensive role easily, like he has done against PSG and Liverpool. So I was very, very pleased with him.’

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Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta targets William Saliba’s team-mate Wesley Fofana

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Arsenal scouts have been impressed with Wesley Fofana (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal are keen on following up the signing of William Saliba by signing the Frenchman’s St Etienne team-mate Wesley Fofana.

The Gunners snapped up Saliba last summer and agreed to let the defender spend the season on loan in France, before moving to north London for the 2020/21 season.

Saliba arrived in a deal worth £27m and Arsenal have continued scouting the defender this season to keep an eye on his progress.

Saliba joins Arsenal this summer (Picture: Getty)

Though Saliba has been the focus, scouts have picked up on the improvement of his centre-back partner Fofana and the Daily Express claim Arsenal want to sign the 19-year-old.

The defender’s come through the ranks at St Etienne and he’s impressed in his 14 appearances this term.

The cancellation of Ligue 1 means St Etienne have narrowly avoided relegation but they remain under severe financial pressure.

The club are therefore seeking a replica of the deal they agreed with Arsenal for Saliba, which would enable them to keep Fofana for an extra season but in full knowledge they they will receive a fee at the end.

AC Milan and Everton are both touted as rivalries for Fofana’s signature.

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Ashley Cole reveals Arsenal’s mistake convinced him to join Chelsea

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Ashley Cole says Arsenal’s failure to replace key players forced his move to Chelsea (Getty Images)

Ashley Cole says that the departure of Arsenal’s key players was a decisive factor behind his move to Chelsea.

Cole came through Arsenal’s academy and helped the club win two Premier League titles and three FA Cup trophies before making the controversial switch to Chelsea in 2006.

The former England left-back has denied suggestions that he was motivated to join Chelsea for the money and claims Arsenal were ‘falling apart’ by the time he left Arsene Wenger’s side after failing to replace important players.

‘The transition in terms of being in a different group, environment and players was easy because at the time when I first started at Arsenal, that was the core – the Keowns, the Seamans, the Vieiras, the Henrys, the Adams’,’ Cole told BBC Sport.

‘When they started to leave, this is just me personally, I felt there were holes in the culture of what it was that brought success.

‘I just felt it was falling apart a bit, or there were gaps missing and they weren’t filled.

Ashley Cole won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 (Getty Images)

‘So that transition in terms of finding myself in a different culture and the willingness and want to win, I went to Chelsea and I had that.’

Asked if he would handle the move differently if given another chance, Cole replied: ‘Yeah, I think when you look back, there were mistakes, for sure, on both sides.

‘One hundred per cent, it’s not just entirely my fault and it’s not entirely their fault.

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‘I was probably a little bit too stubborn at the time and felt a little bit hard done by.

‘I was a little bit babyish to be honest, but it’s something I won’t ever regret and I wouldn’t ever change that situation. It’s just something that happened. Maybe it was meant to be, who knows?

‘But I definitely feel unjust about it because it wasn’t what people think in terms of money.

‘It’s crazy, but that was probably the last thing on my mind.’

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