Thursday 8 December 2016

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger fears more terror attacks in France

Matt McGeehan

Published 19/11/2015 | 10:58

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes trying "to get on with life" is the best response to the ongoing threat of terrorism.

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Wenger was in Paris last Friday when the terrorists struck across the French capital, including three suicide bombers detonating vests outside the Stade de France where the national team were playing Germany.

The 64-year-old had himself been set to attend the match, but a last-minute change of plans meant he watched the game on television from his hotel. The death toll from the series of attacks stands at 129 with many more seriously injured.

Wenger was at Wembley on Tuesday night when England hosted France and TV cameras captured him singing a rousing rendition of the French national anthem 'La Marseillaise' as the two nations united in a show of solidarity.

Wembley Stadium on Tuesday before the international friendly match between England and France
Wembley Stadium on Tuesday before the international friendly match between England and France

The Gunners boss was asked for his reflections on the events when addressing the media ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League match against West Brom.

"I was late for my appointment, so I was late to the stadium and I decided to watch the game in the hotel where I was. I was more under shock than fearful," Wenger said.

"You could be scared because it was four different places attacked. You don't feel secure anywhere.

"Everybody who was in Paris on Friday night was in shock. France is like England - a tolerant and generous country.

England and France sign the national anthems prior to the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see paphotos.com/info for full restrictions and further information.
England and France sign the national anthems prior to the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see paphotos.com/info for full restrictions and further information.

"You have a bit more of a question of security, because it looks like it's not the end of it."

Wenger added: "A way for us is just to get on with life and to respond in a positive way to the situation.

"We cannot stop everything, try to continue with our lives.

"It is more a way of life that is being targeted than any individual community."

England and France sign the national anthems prior to the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see paphotos.com/info for full restrictions and further information.
England and France sign the national anthems prior to the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday November 17, 2015. See PA story SOCCER England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 or see paphotos.com/info for full restrictions and further information.

Wenger praised the way football had united behind his country, as England fans joined in with the singing of the French anthem at Wembley.

"It is a nice gesture of solidarity," the Arsenal manager continued at Thursday's press conference.

"It is not an obvious one for the fans - just like it would not be an obvious one for fans in France to sing 'God Save the Queen', so symbolically it is a very nice gesture.

"It was fantastic for France and it showed the class of England to see the arch of Wembley in French colours."

Wenger added: "I would like to thank the English community and English football who have shown great solidarity. It was a huge shock for our country and our football.

"You always think after this kind of event - do you continue to play or do you stop your life? For me they made the right decision and the event on Tuesday night has shown it was the right decision.

"The football world has responded the way you want it to respond in a big union and togetherness."

Wenger expressed concerns the terror attacks could "create some tensions which could damage a tolerant and multi-cultural society".

There has already been debate about whether the Euro 2016 tournament in France should go ahead as planned next summer.

Wenger said: "I feel the country can provide.

"One of the good things out of what happened now is that the security level will be raised and maybe the Euro 2016 will be more secure."

Arsenal resume Premier League action level with leaders Manchester City.

Wenger revealed full-back Hector Bellerin was set to be available again following injury, but both midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey remain short.

Theo Walcott is also stepping up his rehabilitation, but is not expected back for "one or two weeks".

Wenger played down suggestions new deals were imminent for key men Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

"We have some time. We are not in a hurry. We want of course for them to stay in the club," the Arsenal boss said.

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