Wenger is still the man for Arsenal, says Neville

Former United defender urges fans to be patient, insisting that replacing manager is 'unthinkable'

With the experience of a decade and a half of on-field battles against his teams, Gary Neville is adamant that Arsène Wenger remains the ideal candidate to manage Arsenal.

It is seven years since Arsenal last won the Premier League – and six seasons without any silverware at all – but Neville does not think any other manager would have fared better than Wenger given the spending restraints that were in place as the club built their new stadium.

Neville said: "I can understand Arsenal fans wondering [what's going on] – fans are impatient. They need trophies but I wouldn't begin to even think about losing Arsène Wenger. They wouldn't have done any better under any other manager.

"Wenger is there for the long haul. He is still doing an excellent job and that's why he remains in the job. They are two to three players away from making that extra step. They have been close and then faded away. They need to hang on to the players they have got or invest in new ones but never underestimate what the manager can achieve with players.

"People are too quick to jump on the bandwagon. Nobody else could have achieved what he has achieved and playing the quality he has. He should not be under pressure. As a club, they believe in the long term."

Neville is beginning his new career as the latest addition to Sky Sports' array of pundits, settling on to the sofa alongside Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness, and is expecting a close contest in the title race with little to separate a top five of Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and a revitalised Liverpool.

The Anfield club may have been Neville's bitterest rivals during his playing days, but like Souness he sees strong signs of a recovery down the East Lancs Road. "What they have done this summer is buy a majority of British players to try and bring a core of stability to the club," said Neville. "Anfield is one of the more difficult places to go and play football. They have experience in the manager and for the first time in a few seasons they are going in with a level of expectation. I genuinely think that there are five teams who, with the money they have spent, will expect to be pushing to win the championship." Souness said: "If [Liverpool] get the momentum going, with the crowd there, they could certainly be setting a challenge."

Neville was impressed by United's opening in the Community Shield, and by the speed with which the side is seemingly evolving yet again; a feature of Sir Alex Ferguson's management. Neville said: "Paul Scholes will be very difficult to replace – there will be no direct replacement. That's how Fergie has always done it. He seems to effortlessly be able to move players with great careers to one side and bring in new players."

Souness and Redknapp regard Neville's former employers as likely to defend their title. "They've bought well," said Redknapp. "Phil Jones will be a future England captain and Ashley Young will only add to the team." Souness added: "They will be the team to beat this year."

Tottenham are seen by Neville as the ones to slip from the upper echelons this season. He said: "Tottenham need to find two or three players to move forward. They need a bit of freshening up. They have been outstanding in the last couple of years, but this year could be tough for them."

Watch the Barclays Premier League live on Sky, the only place to see all five Sky Sports channels in HD. Coverage is also available in 3D, and on Sky Go on laptops, phones and tablet devices

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital