Obertan's Henry aim
Gabriel Obertan wants to become a Premier League legend just like his idol, Thierry Henry. The United winger says fellow Frenchman and former Arsenal striker, Henry, is his inspiration as he tries to establish himself at Old Trafford. Obertan is still to win over supporters since his £3m move from Bordeaux last season. But Sir Alex Ferguson believes the 21-year-old has the potential to be a long-term successor to Ryan Giggs when the Welsh veteran eventually hangs up his boots. Obertan, though, has his sights on emulating Henry, who became Arsenal's all-time leading scorer with 226 goals in eight years in English football. I watched Henry play for France and when he was here in England, said Obertan. He scored a lot of goals and he was a very modern attacking player. I am trying to take something from his game. Like me, when Henry started out, he was a winger. Then he became a striker because he loved scoring. I am trying to score more and be more efficient in front of goal. Obertan has a long way to go before he can be considered in the class of Henry having scored just one goal in 26 appearances for United between this season and last. But he can take comfort from the knowledge that his countryman also struggled when first making the move to the Premier League, scoring only twice in his first 17 games for Arsene Wenger's side after a £10.5m transfer from Juventus. Wenger later converted him into a striker, turning him into one of the deadliest finishers in the world. It remains to be seen if Ferguson has any plans to use Obertan as anything other than a winger, but the United manager is prepared to give him every chance to prove he can make it at Old Trafford, playing him on 12 occasions already this season. The former French under-21 international hasn't played since his part in the 4-0 Carling Cup hammering at West Ham last week. He hopes to be in the squad for the title showdown with Arsenal on Monday and says he is beginning to find his feet in English football after a difficult first season. I feel stronger and that I can handle myself much better, he said. My legs feel more powerful, I feel faster and everything seems to be coming together. My biggest improvement has been on the mental side. It was frustrating in my first year if I was out injured and unable to train or be in the reserves. There were lots of obstacles, and it can be easy to let that get you down. I've progressed in that sense. Now I approach disappointments with a more positive attitude. The recent match against West Ham is a good example. Before coming to United I might have let that really get to me, but now I'm just focused on my next game. In my position in the squad any game is important to show what I can do. They're all significant. I'm just getting into the team and will take any opportunity I can get. Obertan has had to bide his time since arriving at Old Trafford and has witnessed the brutal reality of what is expected at United. He watched as another young player, Zoran Tosic, was shown the door after only a year and five appearances following a £7m move from Partizan Belgrade. And with a host of starlets, including Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley, all hoping to break into the first team as well, he knows he has a fight on his hands to catch Ferguson's eye. There are a lot of decent, young players here with very good qualities, he said. We've all got the same aim to get into the team. We need more time and experience. It's just a matter of getting minutes on the pitch.
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