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EXCLUSIVE: Robert Pires recalls scoring for Arsenal against Spurs at Highbury on the day ‘legend’ David Rocastle sadly died

PUBLISHED: 11:39 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:02 30 November 2018

File photo dated 03/04/04 of Arsenal's Robert Pires. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

File photo dated 03/04/04 of Arsenal's Robert Pires. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

EXCLUSIVE: Robery Pires has been speaking with Layth Yousif about scoring for Arsenal against Spurs on the day the much-loved David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle died.

Arsenal's Robert Pires is congratulated by team-mate Thierry Henry after scoring their winner at Anfield in 2003 (pic Jon Super/PA)Arsenal's Robert Pires is congratulated by team-mate Thierry Henry after scoring their winner at Anfield in 2003 (pic Jon Super/PA)

Arsenal icon Robert Pires has been recalling the North London derby in which he scored to help win the match on the day David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle died.

Pires, who played 198 league matches for the Gunners, scoring 62 goals, also contributing 41 assists between 2000 and 2006, shared his memories exclusively with the Islington Gazette at an event at the Emirates earlier this season.

Former Arsenal players (L-R) Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Sol Campbell celebrate winning the Premier League in 2002. Photo by Ben Radford/Getty ImagesFormer Arsenal players (L-R) Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Sol Campbell celebrate winning the Premier League in 2002. Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images

With Sunday’s eagerly-awaited clash against Spurs at the Emirates looming the affable 45-year-old recalled his derby memories of the 2-0 victory in 2001 which came just hours after Rocastle sadly passed away at the age of 33 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Pires who won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his time at Highbury said: “Rocky was a very important player for the club. He was a legend for Arsenal because he built something with the club. I think it’s very important to think about him always.

Arsenal's Robert Pires (second left) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclaycard Premiership game at White Hart Lane, London.Arsenal's Robert Pires (second left) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the second goal against Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclaycard Premiership game at White Hart Lane, London.

“For me I know Rocky Rocastle’s story and he was a very good man and a very pleasant man.

“I know in the Arsenal academy they put that very famous quote on the wall that David said – ‘Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent.’

Arsenal's David Rocastle and Tottenham's Nayim race for the ball during the first division match at Highbury, London.Arsenal's David Rocastle and Tottenham's Nayim race for the ball during the first division match at Highbury, London.

“It is important never to forget the guy. He was a very good player for the club.

“Yes, I remember the game in 2001. I scored. It was a special day because we won and because we remembered Rocky.”

Arsenal's David Rocastle (right) fires in a 90th minute goal to give the Gunners a 2-1 victory during the Littlewoods Cup semi-final replay.Arsenal's David Rocastle (right) fires in a 90th minute goal to give the Gunners a 2-1 victory during the Littlewoods Cup semi-final replay.

A minutes silence was held before kick-off impeccably observed by both sets of fans before Pires netted with a stroke of genius in the 70th minute by cutting inside and curling a shot over keeper Neil Sullivan.

Thierry Henry grabbed a second moments before the final whistle after waltzing past Chris Perry to slot home as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal put their bitter rivals to the sword.

Arsenal's Robert Pires skips away from the attentions of Inter Milan's Martins at the San Siro in 2003 (pic Nick Potts/PA)Arsenal's Robert Pires skips away from the attentions of Inter Milan's Martins at the San Siro in 2003 (pic Nick Potts/PA)

The win came a week before they beat the Lillywhites in the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford in what proved to be Sol Campbell’s final game for the White Hart Lane outfit.

Robert Pires wants Thierry Henry back at Arsenal. CREDIT ARSENAL FCRobert Pires wants Thierry Henry back at Arsenal. CREDIT ARSENAL FC

For comprehensive coverage on Sunday’s eagerly-awaited North London derby follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29.

Robert Pires spoke to Layth at a Legends event at the Emirates earlier this season.

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