Thierry Henry has recalled his first impressions of a young Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal and how the club’s senior stars ‘couldn’t get near’ the teenage midfielder.
Fabregas signed for Arsenal after decided to leave Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy system in search of a clearer route to first-team football, with the Spaniard wasting little time in adjusting to English football as he became the youngest player in the Gunners’ history at just 16-years-old.
Henry was already amongst Arsenal’s key figures and the Premier League‘s finest upon Fabregas’ 2003 arrival in north London, and has now recalled how he was quickly convinced the club had signed a future star despite his initial underwhelming impressions of the youngster.
“I remember the first time you trained with us and I looked at you…I’m sorry I had a bad haircut but that haircut you had was pretty bad,” Henry told Fabregas via Puma’s Football Instagram.
“I looked at you and in those days the shirts were too big for anyone but on you it was like you had a dress on it was so big.
“I looked at the boss and said: ‘Who the hell is this?!’ and he said ‘Oh it’s the kid he won the World Cup with the U17s’ and I went ‘Oh that’s him he finished best player or top scorer or whatever it was’.
“So I remember people were talking about you. I saw you coming and man…I saw you and then the team it was you against Patrick [Vieira] and Gilberto [Silva] and went ‘oh my gosh all the very best,’ but then you started moving the ball around, playing one-twos.
“People like Patrick and Gilberto couldn’t get near you and that’s when we knew you could play with us straight away. Then you go and score in the Carling Cup and the rest is history.
“Sometimes people do not mention it. People rightly talk about Kevin De Bruyne right now because the guy is unbelievable and David Silva unbelievable but for me you’re up there with those guys.
“The way you play I’ve always been attracted to players that were clever on the ball and you’re one of the most clever I’ve played with.”