‘I tackled everyone I could during Arsenal training – even Arsene Wenger’

Kolo Toure admitted he was "trying to tackle everything" during his infamous Arsenal trial that saw him take out Arsene Wenger.

Toure’s first days at Arsenal are well known. And for anyone who watched his career unfold, the story about his trial as a 21-year-old while he was still at ASEC Mimosas in his homeland will come as little surprise.

A recording of former Arsenal hero Ray Parlour’s story was played about how Toure smashed into Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp – with Wenger shrieking at him not to go in heavy on the Gunners’ star players.

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Parlour later told how after making a good interception, Toure followed the ball out before smashing into Wenger and leaving the man he was trying to impress in pain on the deck.

Toure listened to the recording with a huge smile on his face before telling his side of the story to former Arsenal team-mate Martin Keown on talkSPORT. He said: “Like Martin said, I was so enthusiastic.

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“I can’t believe I was training with these guys, coming there and with players that were my idols. When the game started, I wanted to show what I was capable of doing because for me it was a big chance and I didn’t want to miss that at all. I was trying to tackle everything I could, including the manager.”

Keown added how Wenger was impressed by Toure’s mentality, immediately wanting to offer the Ivorian a contract, he said: “Do you remember what the manager said? He was getting to his feet and he said ‘we sign him, we sign him, please do it’.” That quip saw both of the former Invincibles burst into laughter.

Toure went on to play 326 games in all competitions for Arsenal across seven years in North London – lifting the Premier League and FA Cup twice at Arsenal. He later joined Manchester City in 2009, going on to win a further Premier League title and FA Cup.

After leaving the Etihad, Toure played for three years at Liverpool before moving north of the border and playing under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic for a short spell before becoming part of his coaching staff at Parkhead and Leicester City. Toure most recently took charge of Wigan Athletic last season but was sacked after going winless in his nine games in charge.

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