Arsene Wenger believes Andrey Arshavin has what it takes to become an Arsenal star, after the Russian's match-winning turn in the 4-0 win against Blackburn on Saturday.
Arshavin thought he had his first goal for the club after just 80 seconds of the clash, but a hefty deflection off Andre Ooijer means that is likely to go down as an own goal. There was no doubt about Arsenal's second, though - Arshavin cutting in from the left touchline, coasting past Danny Simpson and lifting the ball deftly into the roof of the net.
Wenger said: "He has worked hard. I think he's quite surprised how hard he's worked."
He added: "But I think he is a man of challenges. To leave St Petersburg, where he was the star, and to go to England at 28 years of age and to say 'okay, I want to start it all again', you need to have character and to like challenges.
"He has had a full pre-season (training programme) because in Russia they had stopped. In his first game, people saw him having had only 10 days' training."
Asked about the qualities Arshavin brings to Arsenal, Wenger was equally impressed by his technique and his experience.
"I like players like him who, in the final third, can give you hope and create something you don't expect. I felt we needed that with the players we have and with the type of game we like to play.
"But also he has won before and he has experience. We are very, very young.
"We sold (Alexander) Hleb, and (Tomas) Rosicky we have lost for 14 months. They were in the right age category, between 27 and 30, and we were a bit short at that level."
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