The Arsenal training ground is usually a hive of activity, but it has been a little quieter this week with so many first-team players away on international duty.
Not so long ago Lauren would have been one of them, but he’s clocking up fewer air miles these days after retiring from international football last year.
The Arsenal right-back played in two World Cups and won an Olympic title and the African Nations Cup with Cameroon, but he has no regrets over his decision.
« We play a lot of games for our clubs so I don’t miss the extra games, » he told Arsenal.com. « Sometimes I miss the atmosphere of the national team, but I took the decision to retire last year. »
His abstention from the international scene has certainly benefited his club. Lauren has been hampered by a niggling injury recently but the break has given him time to recuperate before Arsenal’s Premiership campaign resumes.
« I have been suffering from knee and ankle problems so now I have time to recover and prepare myself for the next Arsenal game, » he explains.
Staying in England has also given Lauren the chance to support the Arsenal Study Support Centre, an after-school education initiative based in Holloway.
Lauren was at Highbury on Wednesday to hand out prizes to local youngsters who took part in the scheme. Afterwards, he paid tribute to the success of the children.
« It’s good for the kids to come over here and try to learn new things. It’s good for the players to support them, » he said.
By Chris Harris