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Name Lauren
Gender Male
Ethnic Cameroonian
Job Cameroonian Footballer
Desc Lauren arrived at Arsenal as an exciting winger and left as a gnarled right-back. He was an enforcer for The Invincibles, leaping to the defence of his team-mates whenever required. His absurdly calm penalties also became the stuff of legend

Affiliation

Org Cameroon National Team
Club as Player Arsenal FC
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2017 02 04 Retrieve

[Lauren speaks about being at Sevilla as a 13-year-old while Diego Maradona was with the club] I must have been 13. It wasn’t the best time for the club but having him there was incredible. We’d stay behind to watch him scoring one, two, three, four free-kicks, one after the other. I remember a game where Sevilla were playing badly, there was a corner and someone threw a ball of tin-foil at him. He controlled it, juggled it and volleyed it back. He completely changed the crowd’s mood: from ‘son of a bitch! to Olé!’ in a fraction of a second

2019 12 19 Retrieve

[Lauren says Arsenal have to keep Aubameyang & Ozil can still make the difference] He has been outstanding. He is Arsenal’s best player at the moment. And he is improving; he is improving every single year. It is very important that they keep him because there are not many players in the market who can score 25 goals a season. It’s a massive thing to keep him and fight for the league in future seasons

[Lauren believes the German can still prove his worth] It is always unfair to point the finger at one striker, one midfielder or one defender. When things don’t go well everyone has to push together and find a way to win and get the three points every weekend. Ozil is just one player in the whole team. Sure, he is one of the best and has the most quality so gets criticism when the team don’t get results. But I am sure his talent can still make the difference

There are many points still to play for until the end of the season. It’s not easy because the position right now is not the best but with the many, many points left there is a possibility of top four for sure. I believe they can make it. Why not?

2020 05 04 Retrieve

[Lauren says Arsenal’s Invincibles were always fighting in training] Of course there was fighting. I love at Arsenal that the journalists didn’t go to the training sessions. In Spain in that time, it has been changed, now they have stopped the journalists going every single day. When I went to Arsenal in 2000 I said, ‘This is not possible’. Why? Because in [Spain] the journalists were going every single day to find history, what happened here, who’s fighting with who. In our time if the journalists were to attend training there would be history every single day. How competitive we were - all fighting between ourselves. I had a fight with Thierry, Thierry with Martin [Keown], Patrick with Freddie [Ljungberg]. We were all very competitive and we were all fighting because we all had big egos, big personalities but by the time the games arrived, we were fighting for the same goal. You need that, big egos but you have the manager as well that knows how to control the big egos, how to control those players. I prefer to be in a team that you see players face to face, you can talk to him, tell him whatever you want but when the games arrive you will be 100 per cent for the same goal, to achieve what we set out to do at the beginning of the season. This is the most important thing; without that, it is difficult to win things. I don’t want to be in a team that nothing happens, we’re all quiet, if you win no problem, if you lose no problem. You can’t compete like that. In our time we were all competitive, we were all fighting between each other but at the end of the day we were fighting for the same goal and that’s why we managed to win things

2020 05 27 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal defender Lauren has revealed he turned down Real Madrid to sign for Arsenal because of the human warmth of former manager Arsene Wenger] My representative came to Madrid, met Juan Onieva [the vice-president] and they didn’t reach an agreement because the economic conditions that Madrid offered didn’t convince us. We got on a flight and went straight to London, because there had been contact with Arsenal before. When we arrived we went straight to David Dein’s house. It was David Dein, his daughter who spoke Spanish, Arsene Wenger, me, my representative, and a translator who we had brought with us because my English was non-existent. What really struck me was that I had always negotiated in an office with everyone very serious, wearing suits and ties. This was totally different. David Dein opens his home to you. His personality was spectacular, the treatment man to man was fantastic and I left there totally convinced. And Wenger, with that human warmth he has, that approachable character of his. During negotiations he didn’t speak too much; he listens to you, watches you, he’s seeing if you have the personality to be able to take on this challenge. At Madrid it was like you had to do what they said: this is the way it is, full stop. My dad is a Madrid fan, I was always a Sevilla fan and then Madrid as well, but when another club comes along with another attitude however much you might have liked Madrid, you go to the place where they treat you best and where they offer you the best terms. The way that Dein and Wenger acted struck us. It wasn’t ‘come to the club’, it was ‘come to my house. Come to be with my family, in my home. Come to join us’

2020 05 27b Retrieve

[Former Arsenal defender Lauren on ‘incredibly competitive’ Arsenal training sessions] When there was a game, Wenger would say: ‘Who’s the ref?’ Pat Rice, [former equipment manager] Paul Johnson, [assistant coach] Boro Primorac … No one wanted it. Wenger was clever – he got out of there, went to the corner, hid and just watched. Pat was the bravest and he’d end up arguing with everyone. There was argument after argument: Freddie [Ljungberg] with this guy, Martin [Keown] with that guy, me with someone else. [Dennis] Bergkamp was a genius but he was also incredibly competitive. That’s why we won

Why did Thierry Henry become Arsenal’s all-time top scorer? Talent? Because he was really good and a great athlete? No. Because he wanted to be the best every single day of his life. He never ducked a game, never said: ‘I’ve got a knock.’ The session finished and he’d stay to take shots, practise diagonal runs. On the bus, Henry, me, Edu and [Patrick] Vieira played cards and Henry got angry if he lost. You can laugh but it was like that. If you didn’t give him the ball, if he didn’t score, he would get mad. It was horrific. I’ve had confrontations with Henry and Vieira, Vieira with Martin Keown, Keown with Henry, Henry with Ljungberg, everyone. There was one at Riazor against Deportivo when Henry stopped and raised his arms at me. Bloody hell! You should have seen our training sessions. It’s a good job journalists weren’t there; it would have been horrible

When Gilberto Silva came and saw how we trained …Martin Keown goes in hard and he’s unlucky enough to injure Rami Shaaban. We get to the dressing room and Gilberto says: ‘Bro, is everyone mad here?’ From the next day on, he never once took his shin pads off – and we’re talking Gilberto Silva. We were hard, everyone wanted to win. And that showed on the pitch