Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has revealed his childhood hero and to the surprise of many he is not French but English.
Among a star-packed France squad he could have chosen from Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc, Zinedine Zidane or any other world-class player playing along-side them. Instead, his favourite man was England winger Chris Waddle.
“I like [him] a lot.” Koscielny told Arsenal TV. “When he used to play for Marseille he was an amazing player – technically with his left foot he was unbelievable. I loved to watch him because I think for him football was entertainment, he did a show.
“When he scored goals or gave assists he played for the fans in the stands. I think that’s why I like Marseille and that’s why I like football more than any other sport. It’s because he put a smile on my face and I loved that.”
Koscienly has turned into the beating heart of the Arsenal defense since his arrival from Lorient in 2010, forming fruitful partnerships with Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi along the way.
The current vice-captain’s importance for the rest of the players was clearly visible in Arsenal’s Champions League matches with Bayern Munich when his early forced exit from the games was followed by a mental collapse by the rest of squad.
Koscielny, however, believes that humility is part of the package of being a professional footballer and that is his advice to his fans.
“I have a big smile.” he continues. “I think if [the fans] have my name on their shirts it’s because I represent something special for them.
“[When the approach me] they always say, ‘I would like to be like you’ and I say ‘Ok, if you want to be like me, you need to work hard.
“To be a professional footballer, you need to have some humility, to have some respect for your team-mates and for everyone who tries to help you to become a footballer. It’s very important to have all this in your head.”