Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed the mental resilience of his one-time striker Olivier Giroud after the France international's latest renaissance with Chelsea.
Giroud had struggled for minutes early in the season with Chelsea, slipping to third in the pecking order behind Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner, but hit form with the French national team and has re-established his worth to Frank Lampard in recent weeks. After coming off the bench to score a late winner away to Rennes that booked his side's qualification for the Champions League last 16, Giroud seized a rare start against Sevilla, scoring four goals in a convincing win.
CBS Sports first revealed last month that Giroud was considering his future at Chelsea after finding himself overlooked by Lampard with Inter Milan among the clubs that are keen on the 34-year-old. Despite his struggle for minutes this season the striker's attitude has been consistently praised by Lampard, who today insisted he had "huge respect" for Giroud's attitude whilst he was on the fringes at Stamford Bridge.
It is a view that is shared by Wenger, the manager who brought the World Cup winner to English football from Montpellier in 2012. As Arsenal manager he attempted numerous alternative options up front - Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez among them - but kept gravitating back to Giroud.
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"I said that many times as well [as the Premier League] in the French national team there is always a debate about him but Olivier Giroud has - apart from his footballing qualities - he has an absolutely strong mentality and strong motivational level and has qualities that nobody else has," Wenger told CBS Sports in an exclusive interview.
"He can always be a resource inside a club even when he doesn't start the game and has an immaculate mentality. He is a real team player what is not always the case for strikers and overall I think he is an exceptional personality. And that's why every time you think he's disappeared, he bounces back.
"There's no coincidence, he has over 100 caps for France. Nobody gives you 100 caps to please you."
Ultimately Wenger would only reluctantly part ways with Giroud in January 2018 to facilitate the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund, the French striker joining Chelsea who sent Michy Batshuayi to Dortmund on loan.
In 253 appearances for Arsenal Giroud scored 105 goals. Since joining Chelsea he has found the net on 34 occasions in 98 games.