Football: Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud brushes off criticism from club legends

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud reacts during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud reacts during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - His lack of goals have been said to be one of the reasons for Arsenal's failure to launch a full-on assault on the Premier League title.

To make it worse for Olivier Giroud, amongst those who have cross-examined the Arsenal No. 12's scoring record are the club's two leading all-time goalscorers, Thierry Henry and Ian Wright.

But, speaking at Puma's global launch of the new Arsenal away kit at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre on Monday evening, the French international said: "To be honest, when you're a football player, you don't have to listen to people's words commenting on your performance.

"The main thing is to not fall into doubt, when you miss a game or cannot play sometimes, the best thing is to bounce back straightaway, to keep your head up and trust in your abilities."

"I try to always improve myself, focus on my game," he added.

Giroud revealed he had spoken to former Arsenal captain Henry "man-to-man", and said with a smile: "I know Thierry, I know what he wanted to mean. I'm not going to be upset about that."

Known for his link-up play and flick-ons, Giroud said he was more concerned with being a good team-mate than a record goalscorer, although he said he is aiming to improve on last season's haul of 14 strikes and score 20 goals next season.

He said: "It's nice to learn from the guys around you, we have fantastic team-mates. Maybe this way I improve myself, how to use my body," said Giroud.

"I think I (have improved myself) physically, technically, I'm a better team-mate as well, because Arsenal is not one player, it is a team working together, and I try to set up the game."

The target man added he is unconcerned by reports linking Arsenal with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, and is instead focused on his own game.

He said: "When you're a footballer, you have to deal with the competition. I think I need to be a better football player, and I'm okay with that.

"I try to always improve myself, focus on my game."

And although German striker Lukas Podolski, sold to Turkish club Galatasaray, has vacated the No. 9 jersey traditionally associated with centre-forwards, Giroud said he has no intentions of changing from his current No. 12.

"I didn't think about it. I'm not superstitious," he said, adding that fans had already bought the new home kit with his number.

"I will not be a better player if I wear the (number) 9."

yuntingc@sph.com.sg