Vieira. 39, is currently preparing for his first season in management with New York City FC, having replaced Jason Kreis as head coach in November after the MLS side’s inaugural campaign ended with a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
The Frenchman previously spent two-and-a-half-years coaching sister club Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad after first taking up an ambassadorial role with the team upon his retirement at the Etihad Stadium following the 2010-11 season.
However, having achieved legendary status with Arsenal during his nine-year spell in north London under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage, the former Invincibles captain admits that he expected to hear something from the Gunners as he embarked on his coaching career.
Nevertheless, he insists that the snub did not “kill him”, telling CBS New York: “I’ve never been contacted by anyone from the Arsenal Football Club to manage or get involved with the club.
“Was I disappointed? I was expecting something from them, but it didn’t come. It didn’t kill me. When I stopped playing at Manchester City, I had people around me who believed I could bring something to the club.”
Despite his glittering reputation in the game, Vieira’s appointment as NYCFC boss came in for criticism in some MLS circles due to the poor track record of foreign managers in the league.
As well as taking over an unbalanced roster, the former midfielder will have to get to grips with the unique rules and intricacies of MLS and the league’s arduous travel schedule, all while adjusting to his first senior coaching role.
However, with the opportunity to lean on sporting director and ex-US national team captain Claudio Reyna for advice, he is confident that he can succeed where others like Ruud Gullit and Aron Winter have failed before him.
“[MLS] is completely different and this is the reason why I need to have Claudio next to me to get me more into details of the rules in this country," Vieira said at his first press conference on Wednesday afternoon. "The last few weeks have been good. I learned a lot. In the draft, it was interesting meeting other coaches in the league, exchanging, talking about the positive and negative of the league.
“It’s true that I may not have the best knowledge of the league, but I think the game is still the game. You are still playing football. There is no difference of the way to play the game in Europe and the U.S. It’s still eleven and the objective is to score goals and not to concede a goal. It’s not a big change.”