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Ox - Henry gave me belief

Image: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain learned a lot from Thierry Henry during the Frenchman's loan spell

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed that his confidence was boosted when Thierry Henry returned to Arsenal and took him under his wing.

Arsenal youngster inspired by Frenchman

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed that his confidence was given a massive boost when Thierry Henry returned to Arsenal and took him under his wing. Oxlade-Chamberlain has taken giant strides over the past few months, playing a much more prominent role for Arsenal after being granted limited first-team opportunities in the first half of the season. And he has pinpointed a chat he had with Henry before the match with Manchester United on 22nd January as a key moment in his development. "It was really my first start in a massive game,'' Oxlade-Chamberlain recalled in the Daily Telegraph. "Just before we were walking out to the tunnel, Thierry put me in a headlock and whispered in my ear: 'I've been watching you in training. You have a bit extra, so try to run at people. Don't waste today. Take people on, show the world what you can do, work hard, work back.' That gave me massive confidence." Arsenal lost 2-1 but Oxlade-Chamberlain still caught the eye and was congratulated on his performance by Henry. He said: "Thierry took me to one side after the game, with a big smile, and said: 'Well done. That's what I was talking about'."


Henry spent two months on loan with Arsenal from New York Red Bulls and Oxlade-Chamberlain was struck by his hunger for the game even at this stage of his career. The French forward had spent eight years in North London earlier in his career and he has always been an inspiration for Oxlade-Chamberlain. The youngster said: "Growing up, Thierry was my hero. He used to try stuff and pull it off, fantastic stuff. I remember that goal he scored against Tottenham in 2002, ran though the whole team. "When he came back to Arsenal, I was a bit shy and nervous for the first two weeks. He was sat two spots away, with Theo Walcott in the middle. It was surreal. "After two or three weeks, I realised he was a human being, no different to me or anyone else, a nice guy. "The main thing I learnt from him was his will to win. I was sat on the bench with him and he was shouting away. "He's been there, done everything, so for him to come back to Arsenal, where he's already a legend, and still want to win shows what makes him such a good player."

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