Arsene Wenger gave an interview to Republican Lorrain magazine following the French national team`s victory over Luxembourg in France yesterday. A game he attended as part of his media commitments.
He was asked for his feelings about the Mosel area of France in which the game took place at the Metz stadium; “Fun, already. I have experienced here a few attractive games, and especially bitter derbies whether with Strasbourg or Nancy. When we arrived here, we realized that the pain would last 90 minutes. The football played in this stadium reflected the values of the area, made of hardship and sacrifice. On the negative side, I notice that there is more open ground directly behind the stadium: I remember when we arrived, there were always youth teams training there.”
Noting that times had changed in the area and the Metz team at which Robert Pires and Adebayor, among others, made their mark Arsene acknowledged: “Yes, and the club’s situation saddens me. However, it is consistent with these old industrial and mining areas which have their source of funding dry up. We have the same phenomenon in England, where teams like Leeds and Sheffield are struggling to regain their place among the elite.”
Responding to the suggestion that he was here to cast his eye over the Metz as winners of the French Youth Cup he smiled as he replied “That’s false. You know, we have an eye on the world, but we recruit very few: three, four young players a year who really shine. “
Asked if it was difficult to judge players from Arsenal performing for France detached from his charge of them he answered “No, instead, it allows me to monitor their performance with more distance away from the bench. See them evolve in a different context is interesting, insightful. And this allows me to function as a consultant even sometimes to bring them back as soon as the game finished (laughs). This will happen tonight we start together in London.”
Disagreeing with the suggestion that Abou Diaby is often compared to former Arsenal stalwart Patrick Vieira he said “I do not agree with this parallel. The comparison is based primarily on their physical similarities. Patrick is a distributor, someone who organizes the game Abou himself is a striker going forward and taking players on.”
With a new mood affecting the French camp since Laurent Blanc took over Arsene felt that there is still some way to go “You can feel a new enthusiasm, but it is too early to make a final decision on this team in France. Now I can only welcome this attempt to give the Blues to Laurent Blanc. Generation 98 has demonstrated proficiency on the field and off. I find boys Bixente (Lizarazu) and Christophe (Dugarry) very competent and intelligent. It is time they took over coaching from those like me.” he laughed.
Before contemplating retirement Le Boss still has ambitions to satisfy … “Yes and they are simple: win everything. Cups and the championship of England.” And despite it being a few seasons since he lifted a trophy … “Yes, but I’ll answer that Arsenal can each season reach a higher-level without losing ? 200 million per year. This is not true of all my colleagues in England and the rest of Europe.”
Finally he dealt with a rumor in France that he`ll join PSG in the near future … “It’s not impossible, but it would not be in the shoes of a coach. PSG is the only club in the world to develop in a population of ten million people without knowing the highest level of competition. In Paris, it is believed that a simple change of coach can solve the problems but what is really needed is investors sitting at a table and providing the club with the funds.”
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