Gemma Davison has some bad news for Gunners fans - she wants to make it her aim to take what she learned from Arsenal legends Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey and feed it to rival club Tottenham, writes Tom Dean.
The 32-year-old started out at Arsenal at a time when Smith and Yankey, two of the country’s most experienced and talented players of all time, were in their prime.
The skilful winger absorbed everything she could under their stewardship and claimed her first Women’s Super League title on her return to the club in 2012, having also spent time away in the USA.
Since then she has picked up three further titles during spells at Liverpool and Chelsea before joining Spurs in the summer, where she hopes she can use her experience to make it a fifth.
“I am trying to follow the path of helpful senior players like the ones I played with at Arsenal; Kelly Smith and Rachel Yankey who guided me as a young player and I want to give that back to the game,” she said.
“The one thing I will never forget is how willing they were to help me and how much they believed in what I could do for the game.
“I am still in contact with a lot of them now and I want to be that humble player that is willing to go the extra mile for kids with potential like they did for me.”
Tottenham picked Davison up from Reading as the most high-profile signing in their huge summer intake following their promotion to the WSL.
But despite her unquestionable success as a player, she has been constantly overlooked internationally picking up just 16 appearances over the years, struggling with multiple injuries in-between.
Another injury restricted her playing time early in the season, but Davison returned to the pitch quicker than expected – just eight weeks later.
She scored her first goal for the club against Barnsley in the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup and a clean bill of health has given her renewed motivation.
“I needed a fresh team because last season was not a pleasant one for me so now I am at a big club with potential where I can have an influence on others as well as myself,” said the Barnet-born forward.
“I am happy, enjoying my football again and I feel really well respected by all my coaches here too.
“My whole career I have been an influential wide player and contributing to goals so I want to be breaking deadlocks again.
“For a first season if we can finish in the top five that would be successful for and I think we can.”
A remarkably quick recovery from an ankle injury saw Davison come on as a substitute for the North London derby in November, which drew a record-breaking crowd, but the prospect of starting this Sunday against her former side is a tantalising one.
“I grew up at Arsenal so I have a lot of respect over there still but I think a derby has really boosted the game now – just look at the attendance we had at the derby,” she added.
“There has always been a rivalry between the two sides because that is the culture of the English game and it drives fans and players – as long as everything is done respectfully, I think it is great.”