Wenger sends for Adams to help wayward Pennant

By Mark Bradley
Wednesday 20 November 2013 03:36
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Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, may ask Tony Adams to help save the career of Jermaine Pennant after putting the club's midfielder on a final warning for being sent home from the England Under-21 squad in disgrace.

The 20-year-old midfielder may also face a two-week club fine, which would amount to about £30,000, once the Highbury club have completed their investigation into the incident. Pennant, who was English football's most expensive teenager when he arrived from Notts County in a deal worth £2m in 1999, broke a curfew last weekend when he was on international duty with David Platt's side. He is said to have returned to the team hotel at 7am last Sunday having been banned from going out at all in the wake of his side's European Championship defeat in Portugal two days earlier.

Wenger said: "I hope he'll learn from this as you can understand that young boys make mistakes. But if they don't learn, there's no future for them. Some players who appeared for England against Turkey have made mistakes in the past but they have learned from them. His future is down to him now.

"The biggest part of success until 20 is how much talent you have and, after 20, it's how much you want it.

"We want our players to represent the club well and make us proud of them. On this occasion, he didn't do it but that doesn't mean we have to throw him away.

"Everyone in our squad would say this boy is a special talent. But of course what happened to him cannot be repeated or people who have faith in you will lose that.

"He is the biggest talent of his age group. Wayne Rooney is a bit younger than his age group, from 18 to 22, but he still played in the Under-21s when he was about 17."

Despite his huge talent, Pennant has still not managed to make a Premiership start for the club and was sent on loan to Watford earlier this season. However, Wenger, who will consider the club report before speaking to Pennant, believes Adams, a former alcoholic, could help the youngster.

"We will help him to control his life better and someone like Tony Adams could be a big help in that," he said.

Wenger has left Pennant out of the squad for today's trip to Aston Villa, where the Arsenal manager believes his side will prove their mental strength in the title chase. After the last double-header international break in October, the Gunners failed to recover momentum and lost their next four games.

Despite missing five first-team players through injury, including David Seaman, Ashley Cole, Martin Keown and Robert Pires, Wenger insisted: "I feel the last two games against Everton and Chelsea showed a lot of character. My aim is to get that kind of focus and bonding back.

"Last season, we responded to going out of Europe by going on a domestic run. The target now is to repeat that.

"We're not foolish. Manchester United are in there and so are Newcastle. It's only a mental thing now. It's a question of how much you want to do it."

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