By Matt Farr
Former defender Tony Adams has delivered a damning verdict on the coaching style of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Adams spent his entire 22-year playing career at Arsenal, making 504 appearances, and was key first-team player under Wenger.
But the club still holds a special place in the heart of the 50-year-old, and Adams has provided a damning assessment of his former chief as another disappointing season draws to a close.
Quoting an exert from his autobiography ‘Sober: Football: My Story. My Life’, he revealed to the Sun: “Arsene is essentially not a coach. Back in the day I said in an interview coaching wasn’t Arsene’s strong point.
“Actually in the original draft, I said he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. And though I modified that in the final article, it didn’t go down well.
“Arsene was absolutely the best man for Arsenal when he had his English defence and more exotic overseas attacking talent.”
The days of Englishmen such as Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and Adams building the foundations of the Arsenal starting eleven are long gone, with Wenger currently turning to foreigners to fill his defence.
Laurent Koscielny (France), Hector Bellerin (Spain) and Shkodran Mustafi (Germany) are the current regulars in the Arsenal first-team, echoing Adams’ point about Wenger being at his best with an English defence.
Wenger, who is out of contract this summer, has endured frequent calls from fans to step aside as manager, particularly after Arsenal crashed out of Europe with an embarrassing 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich.
The Gunners also found themselves languishing in fifth place in the Premier League at the time, setting the club on course for another campaign without silverware.
The club remain in fifth with one game left to play, but not without an alarming drop down to seventh in the table behind both Manchester United and Everton.
Since being hit by the criticism, Wenger and Arsenal have shown signs of improvement, with the Frenchman setting aside his stubbornness to alter the club’s tactics and formation in recent weeks.
But their recent resurgence, which has seen them win their last four league matches and reach the FA Cup Final, could prove to be too little too late to win a place in the top four.
That would see Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, a scenario which has never occurred during Wenger’s reign.