Former Cote d’Ivoire and Arsenal star has opened up why ex-Super Eagles teammate Nwankwo Kanu was never an inspiration while the pair were teammates at the North London outfit.
Toure completed a switch from Cote d’Ivoire’s giants Asec Mimosa to team up with Kanu at Arsenal in 2002
After spending two seasons together and being part of the Invincibles in the 2003/2004 season, Kanu left Arsenal for West Bromwich Albion the following season.
Recalling his switch from Asec Mimosas to Arsenal Toure said: “When I came here (England) there was none from the Ivory Coast in the Premier League,” noted Toure, who is currently, part of Brendan Rodgers’ coaching staff at Leicester.
“There was nobody for me to look to for inspiration. We had players like Kanu but not from my country. I am used to that situation, having no idol or role models. But I like the thought of trying to inspire people. They can see that things are possible.
“When I came here I felt I had to do everything properly. Because when you are the first player to come from your country, people judge every other Ivory Coast player by how you do. I was really proud of that because Didier Drogba, my brother Yaya, Didier Zokora, Gervinho and Salomon Kalou all eventually came here to express their talent.”
The 2015 AFCON winner further paid gratitude to ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for giving him the opportunity to become a successful footballer.
“I’m a Muslim guy and I thank Allah because I never believed I could play for the clubs I did,” added Toure, who also had spells at Liverpool and Manchester City.
“I don’t think I was the most talented player in the world or in Africa or in my country. But I was blessed with the right moment, I was blessed to be lucky in being spotted by Arsene Wenger. Because that’s where everything started, really.
“Now the first thing is to have the knowledge. That’s why I am doing the Pro Licence. Because if you want to stand out and bring the best to the players, you have to learn the best philosophy of football playing.
“You have to learn the best way to coach players. That’s why I am doing my badge here because I know I am getting the best advice, the best management skills, the best way to coach players, communicate with players, impact the players — that is what’s most important.
“Some of my friends who have been playing maybe haven’t thought of that. But I want to do it because I think Africa needs that. Africa needs people who can inspire them. It’s difficult. You are putting yourself out there and it’s going to be hard.
“But there always has to be one person to start – and then the rest will follow,” submitted the 39-year-old Toure.