Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has come out in support of the physical style of play employed by the likes of Andy Carroll, insisting that the West Ham striker did nothing wrong when he collided with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea in their match on Wednesday evening, the
Wenger believes it is that kind of blood-and-thunder approach that helps make the Premier League a joy to watch, comparing it to continental football where, often, players writhe on the pitch in feigned agony at the slightest touch from an opponent.
“It is a strength of the English game,” Wenger said. “I don’t have a problem with players who go in completely 100 per cent, because that is what you want to keep in the English game.
“Sometimes I watch foreign games and after 20 minutes you are bored because every time somebody goes down it is a foul, and you say, ‘Come on!’ That is not football, as well. We do not want to lose the strengths and what makes English football attractive – but the intention of the players has to be fair.”
Wenger added that in his experience, foreign players coming to England relish the rough-and-tumble the game provides, feel it improves them as players and miss it when they leave. “The physicality of the English game is one of the attractions of it. I don’t think it holds players back. In fact, the opposite, the foreign players who come to England improve and you get that aspect of the game as well,” Wenger said.
“I’ve seen so many French players complain about the physicality when they arrived in England. I tell them it will take some time but the intensity of the game will make them better players. Some players complained and then, after they moved away, they missed the English game.”
Wenger also feels that the issue has changed in the time he has been in England, saying: “It was worse 15 years ago than it is now. Fifteen years ago, no-one would have spoken about the Carroll challenge [when the striker clattered Manchester United keeper David De Gea at a corner]. Now everything is analysed on TV.”
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