Arsene: I’m in football for life…

Arsene Wenger plans to remain in football for the rest of his life according to his quotes in Her Majesty’s Press this morning. Our esteemed leader, who is 60 on Thursday, made his remarks at a press conference ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with AZ Alkmaar in Holland and he says he cannot imagine retiring from the game he is obsessed with.
The Sun reports: After tonight’s clash, Wenger will be focusing on other things – although that
won’t include a 60th knees-up with a giant Arsenal birthday cake and red-and-white candles. Instead, he will spend this landmark birthday at the club’s annual meeting before treating his missus to a romantic night watching a selection of Europa League matches.
He said: “If I have health, I want to work as long as I live but adapt to my potential. It doesn’t always need to be physical work, it can be more intellectual. You cannot be 75 on the pitch – although Trapattoni has done well and he is 70.
“I don’t know long I will manage the team. From now on I have to assess every two years because this job is hands-on. I am in a job where you always look in front of you. Unfortunately, the older you get, the less distance there is in front of you but football is exciting because when you have a team like I have now.
“You know there is potential in this team and it’s down to me to get it out. Ageing is also a state of mind. People at 40 can be young physically but old mentally.
“You always have to question yourself and I believe that’s the basis of staying young in your head. So no, I have nothing to celebrate. It will be a very quiet night. We have a big game on Sunday and Thursday night is the Europa League with the fifth referee system. They are responsible for my ageing so I have to watch that!”
Wenger adds in this morning’s Mirror: “I’d never want to go anywhere else. Touch wood, as long as I have my health, I would want to work as long as I live but adapted to my potential.
“I am in a job where you always look in front of you. Unfortunately, the older you get, the less distance there is in front of you.
“But football is exciting because when you have a team like I have now. This job helps you because you never have any certainty, you always question things and you always have to question yourself and I believe that’s the basis of staying young in your head.
“As you get older, everybody will tell you there is a big contrast, massive contrast, between how you look and how you feel. I have to, from now on, assess myself every two years because in this job, with the way I work, it’s very hands-on. You cannot delegate a lot so it is hard work.”
The Daily Mail carries a story this morning saying the decision to sell Emmanuel Adebayor constituted a leap of faith by AW in Robin van Persie.
And just as Wenger asked Adebayor to assume the mantle of Thierry Henry when the call of Barcelona became impossible to refuse, so he has charged RVP with the task of replacing the Togo striker.
To say that Van Persie has warmed to the task would be an understatement, given the Holland forward already has grabbed his five goals for Arsenal so far in their last six games, the paper says.
But, perhaps RVP would even be taken aback by the lavish praise that was heaped upon him by his manager, praise that even contained a comparison to legendary Dutch master striker, Marco van Basten, adds the Mail. Wenger positively beams when asked to discuss just how well Van Persie, back in his native Holland before Tuesday’s Champions League clash with AZ Alkmaar, has adapted to the lone striker role.
‘I love him there, I must say,’ said Wenger. ‘Because he has a brain, he can play others in and he can score. His movement is intelligent around the box and if we score a lot of goals, a big part is down to him.
‘Look at the first goal we scored against Birmingham. You can say it was a bit lucky, but you need a specialist soft touch to control the ball in that situation. ‘With a normal player the ball goes five yards away, but with his second touch he puts it straight back on his left leg and scores.’
Meanwhile, AW reckons Theo Walcott is worried about missing out on World Cup selection after it was confirmed that he would miss next month’s England friendly against Brazil with medial knee ligament damage.
His club manager Wenger, though, is certain that Walcott has no reason to fear. “I believe Theo is worried about the World Cup certainly, but I don’t think there’s any reason to worry,” he told the Telegraph. “He will be in the squad. He will be fit. It’s October and he has an injury of two to three weeks – four maximum.”

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