Bacary Sagna says he is flattered by Arsene Wenger’s belief that he is the best right-back in the country, although he insists he only looks forward and not back – thankfully he’s not talking literally, otherwise he’d not be such a great defender.
The French international, who missed four months of the season after breaking his ankle against Spurs at White Hart Lane, has been a fundamental part of Arsenal’s revival since February netting a vital goal in the North London derby and providing a solid platform for Theo Walcott’s end of season renaissance.
Speaking to lyonne.fr after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea – a match which was his 200th for the Gunners – the former Auxerre man reflected:
“It’s flattering. At the same time, my goal is to be the best. It’s hard to critique yourself, but I was voted best right side of England twice in four years. This is quite satisfactory. I hope to strengthen my position even though I was injured this season.”
Pinpointing the key to his success, Sagna made clear that being mentally tough was key.
“Especially [strong in] the mind,” he continued. “This is what makes the difference with other players. I’ve never asked any questions. I’ve always looked ahead, trying to reach the next level.”
“I am now ensconced in the club, it is much like Auxerre but larger, in the sense that it is a family club and very very open. In the four or five years [I’ve been at Arsenal], I have also acquired a taste for London life.”
Strangely, despite being ace, Sagna isn’t nailed on for a place in the France squad for Euro 2012. Having been out injured for so long, manager Laurent Blanc has been very open about testing new blood in the full-back positions with Sagna now having to mount a late charge ahead of the UEFA showpiece tournament in Ukraine and Poland.
He doesn’t seem that fussed though, nonchalantly stating: “I hope to be on top in time, even if the hierarchy was a little upset during my absence.”
Let’s be honest. You’d be a brave man to take his place.
Cheers to @SiuFay for the heads up on the interview.