Jamie Redknapp takes back ‘disrespectful’ comments about Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks on during Arsenal's Europa League clash with Olympiakos
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was heavily criticised by Jamie Redknapp after Arsenal’s loss to Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

Jamie Redknapp has backtracked on his previous criticism of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and admits it was ‘disrespectful’ to say the Arsenal captain was ‘past his best’.

The former Liverpool, Tottenham and England midfielder made the comments after Raheem Sterling fired Manchester City to a 1-0 victory over the Gunners at the Emirates last month.

City centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias kept Aubameyang quiet for much of the game and the Gabon striker was widely criticised for his ineffectual performance against the Premier League leaders.

Jamie Redknapp looks on during Southampton's Premier League clash with Newcastle
Redknapp accused Aubameyang of being ‘past his best’ last month (Picture: Getty)

Redknapp was particularly scathing with his assessment of Aubameyang’s displays this season and suggested the forward’s powers were rapidly in decline, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe instead taking centre stage.

‘Aubameyang’s past his best,’ Redknapp told Sky Sports following Arsenal’s defeat to City.

‘He’s going to have moments, he’s going to get hat-tricks. When I watch him sometimes it’s like he’s lost his superpower.

‘I saw him run past people when he first came to the Premier League, I saw him run past people when he was at Borussia Dortmund.

‘I’m seeing now a player who looks like he’ll get bullied on every occasion.

‘And he’s your leading light. The likes of Saka and Smith Rowe, they’re the ones leading the way, it’s the other players who I feel have got to step up more.’

Arsenal Training Session
Aubameyang was left out of Arsenal’s XI to face Spurs for ‘disciplinary reasons’ (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta urged Aubameyang to simply do his talking on the pitch in response to Redknapp’s criticism and the attacker has since scored three goals in four games for the north London outfit.

And speaking ahead of Sunday’s north London derby, Redknapp admitted it was ‘wrong’ for him to go in so hard on the Arsenal skipper, acting like ‘that guy in the pub’ calling for a player’s head after a few drinks.

Reflecting on his previous comments about Aubameyang, he said: ‘Disrespectful I would say actually. When we do our job like this it was a frustration.

‘I watched him play against Manchester City and he didn’t do enough for me. I didn’t see a player that was running in beyond, I didn’t see a player that had than hunger or desire on that occasion.

‘I was almost like that guy in the pub who is like, “He’s gone!” and it’s wrong, disrespectful and I will take it back because to talk about players who have done so much in the game, you shouldn’t do that.

‘I think sometimes we get a bit emotional, a bit frustrated. I’m a huge fan of his both on and off the pitch.

‘I think he can do more. When I’ve seen him over the last few years compared to this year, I feel that it’s so important that players like him lead the way.

‘When I think about some of the great strikers, every now and then they carry the team and I don’t see him doing that enough right now.

‘It’s not to say what I said at the time was wrong – and you shouldn’t be so disrespectful to say a player isn’t the same or it’s gone – it was more born out of frustration so I will take that back because he’s a fantastic player.’

Eyebrows were raised on Sunday afternoon as Aubameyang was left out of Arsenal’s starting XI to face fierce rivals Tottenham due to ‘disciplinary reasons’.

Alexandre Lacazette came into the side up front and Arteta refused to elaborate any further on the story behind Aubameyang’s absence.

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