Arsene Wenger is 'childish', says former Arsenal star Paul Merson as war of words continues

Wenger said he was "not interested in Paul Merson"

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Paul Merson has called Arsene Wenger "childish" after the French manager reacted to criticism from the former Arsenal midfielder.

After Arsenal threw away a three goal lead against Anderlecht in midweek, TV pundit Merson labelled the Gunners as clueless.

Wenger then hit back at the 46-year-old, saying he was "not interested in Paul Merson" before the 2-1 defeat at Swansea - another game in which Arsenal threw away a lead.

Speaking to the Daily Star, Merson said: "I think it's childish he's had a dig at me.

"Not interested in Paul Merson? He was begging me to stay when he offered me a new contract.

"I was surprised when I saw what he'd said about me. It shocked me. It's weird.

"I respect Arsene Wenger. He's a brilliant manager. When he first came here he was far ahead of his time. But times change. He's got to understand it's my job to give an honest opinion. I was at Arsenal 14 years and I only say these things because I care.

"I'm not backing down from what I said, either. You can't go 3-0 up and then draw a game you need to win to qualify.

"Me and Steve Bould played for one of the best tacticians ever in George Graham and that would never have happened with him in charge."