Backpage Roundup: Wenger Praises Gunners, Jenkinson Determined to Become First-Choice RB, Cazorla Backs Pellegrini to Find PL Success and More

Wenger Praises Arsenal Players

Arsene Wenger commended his Arsenal players after they maintained their top-four status for the 17th consecutive season by defeating Newcastle United 1-0 on the final day of the season.

The Gunners boss was elated with his team’s outstanding end-of-the-season form which saw them win nine of their final 11 games, including Sunday’s all-important fixture against the Magpies.

It [qualification] means that we are able to play with the top teams in Europe, it means it’s easier to bring in players. Let’s not forget that we are not in yet, we have to qualify and that is always a tricky round, but at least we have a chance,” Wenger said.

I’m happy because the exceptional attitude and determination of this group of players has been rewarded, they continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in mid-March. You could never see a sign of giving in,” he added.

 

Jenkinson Determined to Become First Choice

Carl Jenkinson is targeting a bigger role in the Arsenal squad and wants to become the club’s first-choice right-back next season.

The 21-year-old Gunner currently plays second fiddle to Bacary Sagna at Emirates Stadium, but the Frenchman is widely expected to depart for Paris St Germain in the summer. And if that happens, Jenkinson wants himself to become Arsene Wenger’s preferred man on the right side of the defence.

In a recent interview, he said: “Next season is a big one for me and I want to grab it with both hands. I want to be the first-choice right-back at this club and I am not going to stop working until I get there. It’s what I want to achieve and after that I want to stay in the position for years to come. I’ve got to work my socks off and keep developing if I want to do it.”

Meanwhile, on the subject of PSG’s rumoured interest in his services, Sagna told the Daily Star: “Of course it makes me proud to read PSG are interested. They are a very attractive club. Personally, I’ve not been approached by PSG. I don’t know if they have contacted my agent or if these are rumours.

“I don’t close any door. I could very well extend my contract here in London but equally I could leave at the end of the season. I only have one year left on my contract – we will see.”

 

Cazorla Backs Pellegrini to Find Success in PL

Santi Cazorla believes that his former coach Manuel Pellegrini would prove to be a big hit in the Barclays Premier League if Manchester City appoint him their new manager.

The Blues recently sacked Roberto Mancini after he failed to fulfil any of their set major targets for the season. They have been strongly linked with a move for Pellegrini, and Cazorla – who played under the Chilean at both Villarreal and Malaga – has nothing but good things to say about his former mentor.

In an interview with The People, the 28-year-old Arsenal playmaker said: “What can I say about Manuel Pellegrini? He has been very important for my career. As a manager, he has shown he is at the top level in Madrid, Malaga and Villarreal. He made his mark.

“With Manchester City, if he goes there, he’ll do spectacular things and they will get better as a team. He’ll adapt to the Premier League. He’ll change City’s style but the players he has got, they’ll adapt very well. I hope the best for him.

“If he goes to City, he deserves that and I’ll be happy for him. He’s ready as he likes pressure. He’s ready for any team. In Madrid, he didn’t have the luck. It doesn’t mean he’s not able to be at any club in the world.”

 

Wenger Was Sure Arsenal Will Come Back

Arsene Wenger said he was always sure that Arsenal would pip Tottenham in the battle for the Champions League qualification after his men secured a top-four finish by defeating Newcastle United 1-0 on the final day of the season.

Laurent Koscielny’s winner against the Magpies made sure that the Gunners finished in fourth place, having two more points than the fifth-placed Spurs.

In a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Wenger said: “I’m proud of the character and the spirit, especially with all we had to deal with during the season. The players are special. I’ve told them many times and they’ve shown it. In the last two months they have been absolutely exceptional. It’s a good basis, as well, on a longer term to go into next season on such a strong run.

“I’m very proud. We were very far behind Tottenham and even after defeat there (at White Hart Lane) we’ve shown character and attitude to come back and make 73 points, which is three points better than last season. I have had many groups in my life and the focus and the desire to do well was always exceptional. It’s one of the best groups I’ve had in my life on that front. The combination of quality and attitude has been great, and that’s why I always had faith that we would come back.”

 

Wilshere Hails ‘Role Model’ Beckham

Jack Wilshere has paid his tribute to former Manchester United legend David Beckham who retired from professional football last weekend.

The Arsenal youngster believes that the 38-year-old veteran was the greatest English footballer of all-time, and his attitude and professionalism makes him the perfect role model for up and coming players.

Arsenal Player have quoted Wilshere as saying: “For me, he is the biggest English footballer there has ever been – both on and off the pitch. Sometimes people forget what he did on the pitch, he was a great player and he showed that for many years. For any young English midfielder, and for me growing up, he was the perfect role model.

“You can just watch him and learn – not just the way he plays but from his attitude as well, his professionalism and his love for the game. That rubs off on everyone.”

 

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