Ex-Arsenal boss Wenger admits ‘responsibility’ for injuries to star players

Arsene Wenger during the Graham Norton Show on BBC1, TEAMtalk

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger feels a sense of frustration towards Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey’s injury troubles during his tenure at the club.

Wenger, who was in charge at Arsenal for 22 years, has recently displayed his dismay at injury troubles the duo – who have now gone on to forge careers away from Arsenal – went through.

“Sometimes the more technical guys were kicked. Why? It was not very encouraging. We have moved forward from that,” he told the Telegraph.

“We always tried. It was a frustration sometimes. When I look back at players like Wilshere, Ramsey who have been injured early in their career and when you are a manager you feel very responsible for that.”

Wilshere is currently a free agent, while Ramsey is applying his trade in Italy with Juventus. Wenger feels both could have had more promising careers at Arsenal were it not for injuries.

The Frenchman also praised VAR, and claimed it will benefit the game. The system, brought into the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, has caused widespread controversy in its first two seasons.

In particular, managers and pundits expressed frustration at tight offside decisions and handball calls.

But over the summer, the Premier League took advice from UEFA, whose low-intervention use of VAR at Euro 2020 gained praise.

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“I see more positivity,” Wenger added. “Before there was more kicking and I must say the media allowed that.

“The VAR has brought more respect for the offensive game.”

Wenger’s relationship with Arsenal fans

Despite being one of the Premier League’s greatest ever managers – winning 3 Premier League titles and 7 FA Cups – his relationship with Arsenal supporters became unstable towards the end of his time at the club.

Wenger feels he was treated unfairly by fans, and was quick to remind people of his achievements.

“People don’t realise. We won the [FA] cup against Chelsea who had just won the championship and had the chance of winning the double,” he said.

“And after, in 2018, we lost the League Cup final against [Manchester] City, we lost in the semi-final of the Europa League against Atletico Madrid but by just one goal.”

Despite his treatment while essentially being ushered out of the door, the now chief of global football development at FIFA has fond memories of his time at the Emirates.

“But look, I gave the best years of my career to develop what I think is important – the stadium and pay it back and put the club in a position where it was capable of facing the future and had the potential to do well,” he said.

“At the end of the day, above all, we won and what I am most proud about is putting the club in that position.”

This season, Arsenal have have won two of five Premier League games under Mikel Arteta, including Saturday’s triumph over Burnley. Indeed, those victories have come following three successive defeats.

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