Anthony Martial says he “followed Arsenal” while growing up due to their “French heroes”.
Martial moved to the Premier League in 2015, becoming the most expensive teenager in history at the time when Manchester United signed him from Monaco for £36.7m.
The Frenchman has displayed his talents on these shores ever since, scoring 43 goals in 151 games despite not commanding a regular starting place and often playing as a winger.
He has been one of the best players outside the Premier League’s Big Five this season, having finally been given a chance to shine under Jose Mourinho.
It has not all been plain sailing for the 22-year-old at Old Trafford, as he was ‘disappointed’ not to be given the chance to talk to Arsenal in January.
Indeed, he “followed” the Gunners as a youngster in France.
“I always followed English football. Manchester United because Patrice Evra was there and he comes from the same town as me,” he told Manchester United’s official website.
“I followed Arsenal as Thierry Henry was there, also from Les Ulis.
“For my French heroes, I had Thierry Henry, of course, and then Zinedine Zidane, Zizou. They were the best. I admired strikers, number 10s.
“Another player who I really liked was Nicolas Anelka. He was a really great player, quick with loads of skill.
“My two big heroes were both Brazilian: Ronaldinho and Ronaldo because they had magic in their feet! Just about every player from my age group back then would probably tell you the same thing.
“I used to watch videos of everyone! Henry, Ronaldo – I would watch every striker on the internet, and sometimes, right before a game, I’d be by myself watching action clips, so I’d be able to reproduce what they were doing in those videos.
“When I was a kid my favourite team was Lyon. It was at the time when almost all the best players were at the club. Lyon was really my team and that was also the reason I went to their academy.
“Karim Benzema was there, Juninho Pernambucano, with the great free-kicks. There was Lisandro Lopez, who went there after that. They had a lot of good playerANTHONY MARTIAL