Wenger speaks about van Persie…
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been in a very talkative mood over the past couple of days, commenting on a number of his key players. Wenger spoke about the improvement that striker Robin van Persie has made since joining the club back in 2004 and how he hopes that the Dutchman can take up the responsibility as one of the most important players in the squad in the absence of Thierry Henry.
“I think Robin has been transformed in a very good way since he arrived. Like any talented player, he is always worried about individual skills but he has improved and, for me, become a complete team player. Robin’s responsibilities have got higher now Thierry has left. Before it was all on [Thierry’s] shoulders, now it is more on Robin’s.”
I think Wenger’s comments show the confidence that he has in van Persie to be able to handle the responsibility as Arsenal’s main striker. So often Wenger will try and play down the responsibility of his younger players so it is a fresh change to see him set some expectations for the player that many supporters regard as the club’s best.
One of the players who is pushing hard to be considered as the second-choice striker at the club is young Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner. Unlike van Persie, Wenger was quick to downplay his responsibility in the team.
“Nicklas is not completely ready to start in the Premiership and I wanted to give him as many games as I could in pre-season to help him understand what is needed. He is very, very confident too. When you see a guy like that take the ball and take a penalty [against PSG] in his first game. That means he does not lack confidence.”
There’s no doubt about the fact that Bendtner has confidence. Reports from his time at Birmingham and his willingness to take that penalty kick against PSG suggest that maybe he has too much confidence. But in a way, that is exactly what the current Arsenal side lack; players with confidence in front of goal. Whilst Wenger suggests that his time in the first team may be limited earlier in the season I am positive that Bendtner will have an important role to play as the Premiership moves along. At this stage, though, Wenger’s words suggest he sits a little way behind van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo da Silva in the pecking order.
Wenger also spoke about a player who I believe has become one of the key components in the Arsenal side; Gael Clichy. The Arsenal manager spoke about the fact that Clichy is yet to be called up by the French national side and gave some reasons as to why he thinks this is a good thing for the young left-back.
“I would love him to [get called]. But then at the same time I feel it probably best not to talk about it too much and let him get on quietly to play and improve. He will not be ignored.”
Whilst I feel Wenger is probably correct in what he is saying, I think good players deserve to play for their national side and I expect Clichy to get the call-up sometime during this season. His performances last season and in pre-season so far suggest he is developing into an outstanding player and, as Wenger said, he will be difficult to ignore.
What do you think?
Have your say on van Persie, Bendtner or Clichy by leaving a comment.
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