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Lauren: ‘No one wanted to ref in training. Wenger hid. Pat Rice was the bravest’

Arsenal’s invincible right-back reveals how the warmth of Dein and Wenger led him to Highbury and the joy almost fighting Henry still brings him

The way he tells it, they messed up his wedding plans and all for nothing but Lauren did not mind. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. There are no regrets; there is just laughter, the Cameroon international cracking up so often it is a wonder he can put himself back together again.

In the summer of 1999 the man who would become invincible in London was supposed to be lying on a beach somewhere with his new wife, Monica; instead, he was in a meeting with a couple of men he could not really understand discussing a deal that did not get done.

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