Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Arsene Wenger admitted that the prospect of ending his managerial career is “frightening” as calls for his retirement refuse to subside.
The Frenchman’s Arsenal tenure came under the most pressure last season when the club fell out of the Premier League’s top four for the first time since the 1995-96 term – before Wenger was hired – and suffered its seventh consecutive Round of 16 exit from the Champions League.
But he extended his stay by a further two years, enabling him to select Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, and Alexis Sanchez together in a starting lineup for the first time at Everton on Sunday. For Wenger, it’s the familiarity of training drills, matchdays, and press conferences that makes retirement seem daunting.
Wenger explained to Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison and Kate Burlaga: “Because every end is to be in front of the unknown and of course it can be a bit frightening.
“But even if it is frightening, I’m not too scared. I just want to do what I do as long as I think I can do it well and I have the motivation to do it. On that front, I have no doubt.
“After, the day will come quickly, maybe not, but I am completely focused and completely committed.”
(Photo courtesy: Action Images)
Despite the plane flyovers and banners calling for his departure, Wenger affirms his devotion to the game. It’s been a long marriage between the lad who grew up in an Alsatian pub before beginning his managerial days at Nancy in 1984.
“I started this job at the age of 33 so I’ve done 35 years without having a stop at all,” he added. “There’s no break; it’s 35 years of total focus and dedication to football life.
“Why keep doing it? Because I love it. Because it’s a job where I think you can have a very positive influence: on people’s lives, on results, on the dimensions of a football club, on values – because I think first of all a club is about values, which we forget a lot today.
“I feel on a mission to carry these values through for this club because I think this club is usually respected all over the world for its values and it carries through the generations.”