Friday 21 October 2016

Vieira: 'disappointing' Gunners lack physical presence and personality of Invincibles

Barney Henderson

Published 22/08/2016 | 02:30

Patrick Vieira. Photo: Getty
Patrick Vieira. Photo: Getty

Patrick Vieira has claimed that Arsenal lack the physicality and personality of his 'Invincibles' and criticised the club for shutting the door to former players.

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Vieira, a key figure in the side who went through the 2003-04 season unbeaten, said: "My generation had lots of physically strong players. In this last five or six years, Arsenal went more with this type of technical players. The Invincibles had it all.

"For me, it was like the French national team in 1998, when we had physical players with flair, with pace, it was a similar team.

"Now when I watch Arsenal, yes they play good football, but I just have a feeling they are missing something - the physical presence, the personality."

Vieira added that he partly admired manager Arsene Wenger's "brave" policy of not caving into pressure and bringing players in for the sake of it, even when the fans demanded change.

"But, on the other side, the team is not doing as good as it used to and you need to win football matches. They've been disappointing, losing games they should have won."

Vieira said he could not understand why the club were not allowing former players such as Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires both to develop their own coaching and management skills and help to influence and inspire the next generation of players coming through.

"I'm disappointed not to see ex- Arsenal players working at Arsenal. It is good for the young players who could see a Thierry Henry, a Ljungberg, a Sol Campbell or a (Martin) Keown who have been at the club a good few years working in the academy, or working somewhere. I think they can do it a bit more.

"Players want to do it but do not have the opportunity. I don't understand it.

"The perfect example is Ajax. You see all the old players working for the club, on the field, in the office - the door is always open for them - but Arsenal don't do it and I don't know why," he said.

The Frenchman said he had been given that chance by Manchester City, where he was given a youth development role in 2011, and that he was sure his former Invincibles could make the difference if given similar opportunities.

He said he was loving his first season with Major League Soccer side New York City FC, where he manages Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa, and has guided the team to the top of the Eastern Conference.

While things are going well in America, Vieira's goal is eventually to manage one of Europe's biggest clubs. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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