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Arsene Wenger for England makes Perfect Sense

Photo Credit: Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT
Photo Credit: Mike Hewitt/ALLSPORT

It won’t have been necessary to be good at vaticinating in order to predict the aftermath of a horrendous UEFA Euro 2016 campaign for England under Roy Hodgson. As The Three Lions added another landmark departure from a major tournament to their infamous dossier of failures, Hodgson’s resignation was somewhat a now mandatory completion of the “Quadrennial English Managerial Farewell”, something that’s fast becoming a regular feature of English Football.

The managerial search, hence, has begun once more with Glenn Hoddle, Gareth Southgate and Harry Redknapp-like names reportedly being the favourites to take over which makes it important to ask: Are the FA actually interested in the national team? If they are, none of those sounds a decent option who can lead the team to some sort of success. Bring back Hoddle and you get someone with old wounds to heal, appoint Southgate and you get an unfinished commodity and Redknapp’s biggest success is probably his car-window TV interview.

Therefore, considering the scanty availability of top English managers, one may feel it’s in England’s best interests to look for answers somewhere else or to someone else who is not English but world-class, knows the A, B and C of English Football and can be lured shall the FA make their move. There’s only one name that fits the bill perfectly on this occasion and it’s none other Arsene Wenger, who only has one year left on his Arsenal contract (2016/17) and is due to complete “20 years” in England.

“Arsene Wenger for England” makes perfect sense for a country that has a special sehnsucht for flair, entertainment and attacking Football trussed with stability, sustenance and success. If you look at what Wenger has done during his time at Highbury and The Emirates Stadium, you’ll find that he has transformed a relatively unknown club into one of the Football world’s biggest and richest brands which has an identity not powered merely by the trophies they’ve won but also the kind of Football they play.

There’s no reason whatsoever to think why Arsene Wenger can’t repeat that at England where there’s no shortage of resources – may it be on the infrastructural front or in terms of the talent in the team. People are often quick to question his ability and whether or not is he the right man because of a poor past decade by his own standards, but it’s easier to throw flak at him than being in the situation he has been through these years, yet managing a top-four finish year after year while achieving such financial success as has never been matched by any other manager in the history of the game. If that’s failure to you, England might actually accept failure.

Also, it’s important for one to understand that England simply don’t have the option of trying to switch to a more defensive approach for the one reason that they just don’t have the kind of players to be able to adapt to defensive tactics, which makes it crucial for their success to maximise the rich attacking potential there is. In an era when managers are becoming increasingly reluctant to go for the apparent “gung-ho” approach over pragmatism, Wenger is one of the few who are willing to stick to the Johan Cruyff philosophies and that only makes you think the wonders he could do to England, who have more attack-minded players wanting to take the game to the opponent.

Again, one may like to point out the lack of sharpness in attack in his Arsenal team, but that’s because of the absence of a world-class striker. At England, he’ll have Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge-like strikers leading the line and a mid-field with such players as Dele Alli, Jack Wilshere, Eric Dier and Ross Barkley, who, under him will inevitably flourish because of the freedom to play the way they want to unlike Roy Hodgson who, with all due respect, could never do or even come closer to doing.

Tersely, England and Arsene Wenger feel like a perfect match, who share the same set of philosophies, even if a fair few of them are used to playing under extremely different tactics at their respective clubs. Surely, it can’t go any worse than it did with Roy Hodgson if the FA were to appoint a man who revolutionised English Football, in fact, the sport itself.

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About Harneet Singh Sethi

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