Former Arsenal player full of praise for Wenger

Arsene Wenger Press Conference Smiling - 16/02/2014

Arsène Wenger has been the target of heavy criticism over recent months.

Former Arsenal player Ray Parlour has hailed the Gunners' manager Arsène Wenger, speaking highly of the influence the Frenchman had on his career.

Talking to Sky Sports' show Soccer AM, Parlour explained how Wenger brought revolutionary ideas to the training field.

"On the training field, he was amazing," Parlour said. "Training every day - no disrespect to George Graham, who was very good and knew exactly what he wanted, he was very defensive minded, set-plays were important - but from day one with Arsène, the training methods were unbelievable, they really were. And technically, you got much better. You were playing with good players anyway.

"But he was a manager who you could go up to and say: 'Boss, I need to practice this a little bit more. He would say: 'Right, after the end of training I will stay with you and practice.' And he would be out there for an hour with you on your own, and some managers would not do that."

It must be a pleasant change for Wenger to hear words of a complimentary nature from a former player.

As Arsenal's season has imploded since January, ex-players and pundits have been vociferous in their criticism of the Gunners boss. The experts and fans have identified key areas of the pitch where Arsenal obviously need to strengthen, but Wenger's stubbornness and blind faith in his current crop of players has prevented any of these signings coming to fruition.

He has always taken greater pride in working with players and helping develop their talents, rather than purchasing the finished article and Parlour spoke of his respect for Wenger, and how the Frenchman helped optimise his talents.

"So he was brilliant for my career and he was a very honest manager," he said. "He used to say to me: 'If you play well, you will play next week.' And that is all you want to hear as a player and you knew that if you played well, you would play next week and as a player, that is perfect for you."

Arsenal are entrenched in a battle for a Champions League spot and head to the Etihad to take on Manchester City today.

The Gunners are in desperate need of a win after Manchester United's victory over Norwich City yesterday intensified the pressure in the race for the top four.

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