On the 10th anniversary of becoming Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger received high praise yesterday from the least likely of sources: Roy Keane - the man who spent nine of those 10 years trying to upset the Frenchman's plans.
"He has done a brilliant job," the former Manchester United captain and now Sunderland manager said. "I watched them last week against [Manchester] United and they were outstanding," Keane added.
"The way he keeps his head or he seems to keep his head, even at the start of the season when people were starting to doubt Arsenal. I read something about him and a thing he said about football: he said some people live off football and some people live for football. He clearly lives for the game and all credit to him. I wish him well."
Keane's eulogy was followed by a statement of unreserved praise from Arsenal's vice-chairman, David Dein, indicating that he should be given a job for life at the club. "It is not just the success in terms of trophies, but the style and quality of the football," Dein said. "He was responsible for the new training ground and without the success we have had, we couldn't have built the new stadium that allows us to compete with anybody in the world."
"If the day comes when he wants to retire, there must be a seat on the board for him. We don't want to lose his talent, expertise, knowledge and judgement. We hope he stays as manager for another 10 years," Dein added.
Wenger was also applauded by Charlton's manager, Iain Dowie, for his ability to turn unknown and underachieving players into world-class internationals, citing in particular "the transformation in Thierry Henry". Dowie added: "He [Wenger] has the ability to go to the Ivory Coast and France, get young players and bring them through. He's done it again with Emmanuel Adebayor."
Dowie also praised the way Wenger has revolutionised aspects of the English game. "His management style has been admired by a lot of people," he said, "that calm authority that gives players confidence, the rotation, having players play in different positions."Reuse content