Saturday 24 February 2018

Arsene Wenger calls for England manager to be given time to 'defend himself' after newspaper sting

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Samuel Stevens

Arsene Wenger has called for Sam Allardyce, the England manager, to be afforded time to “defend himself” after a damaging newspaper sting operation threw his immediate future into doubt.

The former West Ham United and Sunderland manager appeared to advise businessmen claiming to be from the Far East on how to “get around” Football Association regulations on third party ownership while also aiming jibes at predecessor Roy Hodgson.

It has been reported in the aftermath of the revelations, published by the Daily Telegraph on Monday evening, that Allardyce could be set to lose his job after only being appointed as Hodgson’s successor following Euro 2016 this summer.

But Wenger, whose Arsenal side are preparing to face FC Basel in the Champions League tomorrow night, has leapt to the 61-year-old’s defence, insisting he should have the opportunity to explain his actions – which were captured on film.

“You have to let Sam Allardyce defend himself and I just hope he will clear his name,” Wenger said on Tuesday afternoon. “Third party ownership should not be allowed, I have fought against it a long, long time. The club should own 100% of their players.”

Theo Walcott, the Arsenal and England forward, was keen to avoid discussing the situation with Allardyce’s future still very much in doubt. Instead, he moved swiftly on to his upturn in form which helped him score during the 3-0 victory against Chelsea this week.

“It is not even in my mind. I'm all about here,” he said. “I found it difficult towards the end of last season, I didn't get many opportunities. I spoke to many people and woke up something in my system - I am completely different.

“I just want to do better and better, after all the faith people have had in me. Maybe in the past I was thinking about others rather than myself, and I think it's about getting the balance right.

“There are always ups and downs, but it's all about now, and now it is going well.”

Independent News Service

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