How Manchester United legend helped Hearts ace Armand Gnanduillet become a goalscorer

Legendary English striker Teddy Sheringham played a key role in the development of Hearts striker Armand Gnanduillet.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 7:00 am
Armand Gnanduillet has impressed since signing for Hearts. Picture: SNS

A loan spell with Stevenage in English League Two saw the Frenchman cross paths with the former England, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur star.

Sheringham was known for his intelligence and movement inside and outside the box, scoring goals despite not being the biggest, strongest or quickest.

It was that awareness he helped develop with Gnanduillet initially in awe due to his new manager’s goal in the Champions League final for Manchester United against Bayern Munich in 1999.

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“That era, from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, was the best football there was ever,” the Hearts forward told PKF Foot.

"So when I go on loan over there and see him coming to me, I'm really impressed. In my head, I can only see the goal he scored against Bayern in 99.

“I remember him too because he was very severe. It was really old school.

"He was 50 and he was actually still playing, he was training with us and he was too strong.

"Personally, he helped me a lot with my movements in the box because he felt that I was not scoring enough and he was right.”

‘Little habits’

Gnanduillet returned to British football in January, moving to Tynecastle after a difficult time in Turkey with second tier side Altay, but is still looking to hit his “Blackpool level" where he netted 32 goals across two seasons.

He said: "If all goes well, I touch wood, we will go up being champions. So personally, that would be one more promotion on my CV and this time it will be to go play in the top flight.

“Above all, I want to get acclimated to the city, spot a few places, have my little habits and get back to work quietly. I'm a hard worker so I'll be fine.

"The facilities here are like training at Clairefontaine. So the goal is really to get my feelings back and come back to my Blackpool level.”

Liam Cooper duel

Gnanduillet is fully accustomed to the physical nature of British football and hit the ground running on his arrival at Chesterfield back in 2013 after an impressive period with Poissy in the French fourth tier.

In one of his first training sessions he had an encounter with current Scotland international Liam Cooper.

“I will not lie, I was like ‘over there they don't know how to play’, but it's not that they don't know how to play, they have a whole different mindset.

“I get there on Monday and train with those who haven't played the day before. I had a good training and the next day I trained with the first team.

"During the session, I am in a duel with Liam Cooper and I know they liked to test the players. So I bump into him and the coach is shocked because they are used to French people who are afraid of contact.

"They didn't know that in my head it was an opportunity for me to sign pro and therefore that I was going to give myself 100 per cent.

"After that training, I signed there and that's how it started.”

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