AS an attacking player who came through the academy at Arsenal, it was only natural that Jaidon Anthony looked up to the great Thierry Henry.

But when the legendary World Cup winner took a session which involved some training drills for rising stars in north london, a young Anthony admitted he was left “gobsmacked”.

The Hackney-born winger spent 10 years on the books at Arsenal, progressing alongside the likes of Emile Smith-Rowe and Reiss Nelson before going on to join Cherries.

Anthony admits there are plenty of players who helped shape the player he is today – but Henry certainly had a huge impact.

Asked about the Premier League Hall of Famer, Anthony told the Daily Echo: “Growing up he was just the guy I wanted to be like, really. I remember when he was doing his coaching badges he did a session.

“I was so gobsmacked, I couldn’t get my words out really.

“He was a special player and I was grateful to even have those few sessions with him where I was in awe of him really, I was really obsessed with him.

“Obviously, he was starting out and doing a few sessions here and there.

“There was a specific session where we were doing finishing and he joined in. He still had so much quality, it was unbelievable. He was a top player and I really look up to him.”

Anthony added: “He definitely has had a part in the way I look at football and certain things he did I try to implement. But there would be so many players you could put that towards.

“I wouldn’t say it was just him, but he was definitely a big part of my childhood growing up.”

Fast forward to the present day and, following his release by the Gunners, Anthony is forging his own path in the professional game.

He only made his Football League debut under Jason Tindall last campaign, but the 21-year-old has been an integral part of Scott Parker’s early-season plans.

Anthony has been ever present in the Championship this season, providing two assists from the left wing and scoring his first Cherries goal in a 2-0 victory over Birmingham last month.

“It’s all happened quite quickly and, to be honest, I’ve just kept my head down and worked hard no matter what the situation,” he said.

“I am just grateful for every opportunity that I get. I want to keep repaying the faith that I have been given, work my socks off for the team and the manager and see where that takes me.”

In just 10 senior appearances for the Dorset club, Anthony has represented three different bosses in Tindall, Jonathan Woodgate and Parker.

“Obviously you get to learn a lot in that time and, to be honest, for me it’s just about focusing, working hard and trying to show what I can do,” he said.

“It’s really just giving the managers what they want and, with this manager (Parker), I am really grateful he is putting his faith in me and letting me shine on this stage.

“Him and his staff have been excellent with us. We are learning so much every day I feel like and there is so much more to come from us as a team.

“We are not perfect, we will keep growing but it’s been excellent and I can’t wait to keep going and see how far we can go with this team.”

Despite being at Cherries while the club were plying their trade in the Premier League, Anthony is yet to get a taste of playing in England’s top tier.

“That’s the dream,” he admitted.

“That still lives on until we do it. Last year it was very disappointing going out how we did (in the Championship play-offs).

“We just want to go one better and achieve our goals.”