Jermaine Pennant: I didn't handle pressure of being Arsenal's next big thing

Jermaine Pennant

Former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has reflected on his time at Arsenal.

Former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has told the Daily Mirror that he 'didn't react the right way' to pressure at Arsenal.

Pennant, now 32, recently impressed in a short-term stay at Wigan Athletic, scoring three goals in 13 games in a valiant attempt to keep the Latics in the Championship - a bid which ultimately failed.

Pennant is set to become a free agent, and has told the Daily Mirror that he is looking to return to the Premier League for the first time since his departure from Stoke City in January 2014.

After a spell in India with Pune City, Pennant is back in English football, and is looking to prove that he still has the quality which saw Arsenal lure him from Notts County as a 15-year-old back in 1999, with the Guardian reporting a fee of £2m.

Pennant was expected to be Arsenal and England's next big thing, but his career tailed off, making just 12 Premier League appearances for the Gunners before spells with Watford, Leeds United, Birmingham City, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Real Zaragoza, Stoke and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Pennant is far from the only case of unfulfilled potential from a teenager in English football, but has now told the Daily Mirror that he simply couldn't handle the pressure that was on him from the minute he joined Arsenal - and is now looking to pass on words of wisdom to youngsters in similar situations to the one he was in over 16 years ago.

"I’ve had to deal with pressure from the age of 15 and sometimes I didn’t react in the right way but now it is such a great feeling to use my experience in a positive way," said Pennant. "Before I left Stoke, I enjoyed spending time with the under-21s, telling them about the pitfalls in football."

Whilst he played in a Champions League final for Liverpool in 2007, Pennant's career may always be considered as a case of 'what could have been?' - and now he's looking to make up for lost time with a Premier League return this summer.

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