Ray Parlour reveals time Arsene Wenger stepped in to defend Robert Pires in Arsenal training

Arsene Wenger with Robert Pires in Arsenal training
Wenger signed Pires in 2000 (Picture: Getty)

Arsene Wenger once told his assistant manager to ‘shut up’ when he tried to criticise Arsenal legend Robert Pires in a training session.

Arsenal enjoyed six years of Pires’ magic at the club and the Frenchman was carefully man managed by Wenger.

Ray Parlour, who played alongside Pires for four years, recalled how Wenger would step in to defend the forward from his right-hand man, Pat Rice.

‘Remember Pat Rice to Robert Pires? “If I see you jump out of a tackle again”,’ Parlour told Martin Keown in a conversation in the Daily Mail.

‘Then Wenger comes in: “Shut up, Pat! Well done Robert, keep moving the ball”.

‘He knew his character. He knew if you had a go at him, he’d go into his shell and wouldn’t want the ball.’

While Parlour and Martin Keown have fond memories of their time under Wenger, the former Arsenal boss admitted he still worries about the club.

Ray Parlour, Robert Pires, Fredrik Ljungberg in action for Arsenal
Parlour played with Pires for four years (Picture: Getty)

Wenger left the club in 2018 and watched from afar as his successor Unai Emery was sacked after just 18 months in charge.

Mikel Arteta has now been tasked with rejuvenating Arsenal and Wenger is hopeful his former player can guide the Gunners back to their roots.

‘I worry about the club still a lot and I watch all of the games,’ he told TalkSport.

‘I believe there is a culture in the way to play football at Arsenal that I want to be respected, and I hope Mikel can get that back.’

Arteta’s efforts to revamp Arsenal were cut off by the coronavirus pandemic and Arsenal’s transfer budget has been slashed in the wake of the financial issues caused by the health crisis.

Premier League chiefs are hopeful of resuming action in June, but need the green light from the British government and clubs wary of a premature return.

MORE: Unai Emery backs Dani Ceballos to be Arsenal’s key man under Mikel Arteta after Premier League restart

MORE: ‘Are you taking the p***!?’ Martin Keown reveals the time he confronted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in dressing room

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments