Former Arsenal and Chelsea star Nicolas Anelka names surprise choice as best manager he’s played under

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Nicolas Anelka has played for some huge names in management (Picture: Getty Images)

Nicolas Anelka has played for some of the most recognisable names in European football management over the last 25 years, but two stand out as his best managers: Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce.

The Frenchman made his name at Arsenal under compatriot Wenger, so it is little surprise Anelka has named the Gunners legend as one of his best bosses.

However, Allardyce might catch the eye when Anelka has played under the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Vicente Del Bosque, Guus Hiddink, Luiz Felipe Scolari and…Kevin Keegan.

Anelka played a season-and-a-half for Bolton under Allardyce from 2006-08, scoring 23 goals in the short space of time after his return to the Premier League from Fenerbahce.

It had been something of a gamble from Allardyce and for the player himself, but it paid off for both as he produced the goods and moved to Chelsea in January 2008 for £15m, which saw the Trotters nearly double their money.

Anelka has praised Allardyce, along with Wenger, for knowing how to get the best out of him.

‘For me, I take into consideration football, attitude, my understanding with the coach, mentality and how he used me on the field and because of this there is only two names: Big Sam and Arsene Wenger,’ Anelka told Bolton’s official website.

‘They knew how to use my qualities to get the best out of me.’

Watford v Bolton Wanderers
Anelka loved his time at Bolton (Picture: Getty Images)

On playing under Big Sam, Anelka added: ‘I loved it. I loved everything about him!

‘The game preparation, the games, the football style, his coaching, and the relationship he had with the players, his way to think about modern football using recovery more than anything else.’

Anelka, now 41 years old, is working as a youth coach at Lille after a playing career that saw him appear for 13 clubs from 1996-2015.

The Champions League, Premier League and European Championships winner feels of all those clubs, game preparation also stood out at Bolton under Big Sam.

‘For me, we had the best game preparation at Bolton and Chelsea based on recovery before and after the game,’ he said. ‘We had lots of massages, ice baths and hot baths and I could feel the difference. We were ready to fight.

‘Big Sam’s training sessions were very light but intense. He made sure we had fresh legs for the games and that we were ready to give everything and mostly be ready to fight because every game was a war.’

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