Martin Keown: The fittest player I ever played with was....

Nicolas Anelka

Martin Keown revealed the fittest player he ever played with was a former Arsenal, Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, and Manchester City striker.

The former Arsenal defender gave an unexpected answer to the question posed to him. It was indeed a player who was alongside him during his Arsenal days but given that his nickname is 'Le Sulk' you wouldn't necessarily expect him to be the one excelling in training.

Nicolas Anelka was named as the fittest player by Martin Keown with another Frenchman Thierry Henry a close second. Answering the questions live on The Daily Mail website, Keown responded with "I remember doing a pre-season run for Arsene Wenger when we were told to go at three-quarter pace and see how far we could go. I think Anelka arrived a day later than everybody else so didn’t have the rest of the team to pace himself, but he ended up going about a lap and a half further than everybody else and you realised just how fit he was."

Anelka gained a reputation in this country for being someone with minimal enthusiasm and never really stayed at a club long enough to become a cult figure. However it was clear to see he was a talented individual and should have perhaps made a lot more of his career. He has done better than most, but didn't quite reach a world-class status despite representing Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Unfortunately his time in England has ended on a sour note following the Quenelle gesture which led to West Bromwich Albion cancelling his contract. 

With Thierry Henry it was obvious that he was an athlete and you could see that from his style of play at Arsenal. Talking about his fitness Keown saidI always thought Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka were ahead of anybody else. Henry was rapid but he could do any range and any distance. I always felt that no matter how fast or far he ran he was always holding back."

Arsenal fans would love to have Henry and Anelka at their peak back at the club. Their current options up front are a far cry from those days.

 

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