Arsenal legend Martin Keown never saw Freddie Ljungberg as management material

Freddie Ljungberg
Freddie Ljungberg has made a slow start as interim Arsenal manager (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin Keown admits that he never thought former Arsenal team-mate Freddie Ljungberg would become a manager and has offered him some advice for dealing with the current Gunners squad.

Ljungberg is currently in interim charge of Arsenal after the sacking of Unai Emery, but has made a poor start, drawing with Norwich and losing to Brighton in his opening two games.

The Swede is in contention to take the job on a permanent basis, if he can improve results, but Keown says his ‘individualistic’ nature as a player did not paint him as an obvious choice for management.

‘He’s a fiercely competitive individual,’ Keown told talkSPORT.

‘I never saw him as management or a coach, he was quite an individualistic player, he did everything his own way, but that maybe helps him to be a very good manager.

Martin Keown (far left) and Freddie Ljungberg (centre)
Martin Keown (far left) and Freddie Ljungberg (centre) played together at Arsenal from 1998-2004 (Picture: Getty Images)

Keown recognises the huge problems that Ljungberg has taken on and admits that significant changes are needed in defence and midfield, calling out both Mesut Ozil and David Luiz for their attitude.

‘We shouldn’t expect a magic wand because this has been a problem that’s been in the making for some time,’ continued the former defender. ‘Emery obviously inherited it and he didn’t find a solution.

‘It was about changing personnel, recruitment so you needed central defenders that wanted to defend, loved defending, they’re not there.

‘We need different midfield players. The likes of Ozil, if they don’t want to toe the line, they don’t want to play, for now you’ll have to upset one or two.

‘I would pull David Luiz to one side and say “I’m just going to sit you out for now” I don’t want you to go completely against the group or against me, but I’m looking at something else for now.

‘He seems to be the biggest culprit for wanting to shrink away or drop off.

‘The midfield is an issue because the midfield just disappear.’

With the defeat to Brighton, Arsenal slipped to 10th in the Premier League and just five points above the relegation zone having won four of their 15 league games this campaign.

Their next chance to improve their fortunes comes away to West Ham on Monday night as they look to end a winless run which stretches back nine matches.

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