Belfast Telegraph

Burnley boss Sean Dyche praises Arsene Wenger's work with English players

Arsene Wenger does not get enough credit for his work with English players, according to Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

The Frenchman celebrates his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager on Saturday and his arrival at Highbury is seen as a key staging post in the prevalence of overseas talent on the pitch and in the dugouts of Premier League clubs.

On February 14, 2005, Wenger became the first manager to send out a starting XI with no Englishmen, but Dyche thinks the subtle reintegration of homegrown prospects has not been recognised.

As well as Jack Wilshere, who is currently on loan at Bournemouth after repeated injuries checked his stellar rise, Wenger invested heavily in Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers and Carl Jenkinson as teenagers and counts Danny Welbeck, Kieran Gibbs and Rob Holding in his current squad.

"There was a time, if you remember, when there was a fully foreign XI and Arsene was questioned," said Dyche ahead of the Gunners' trip to Turf Moor on Sunday.

"But he's actually moulded back towards a lot of English players, particularly young English players.

"The thing I like about him is he's never coming out and telling the world about it. He's never come out and proved that point, 'you all questioned me about the foreign XI but now look at all my English players'.

"He's morphed it into his beliefs, these young English players and very high quality ones too."

Wenger has not gone short of tributes in recognition of his two-decade Premier League odyssey, and Dyche offered a generous one of his own.

"I think he'll be looked upon as an absolute legend in years to come, on and off the pitch, for what he's done," he said.

"He had massive foresight in what the club could be, along with some success along the way.

"The business model is amazing, we all know that, and continues to be. But his moral standard on things like transfers and wages seems to be as strong as ever."


From Belfast Telegraph