Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has hailed the impact soon to be departed to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has had on English football.
The Spain international moved to the Gunners as a 16-year-old in 2003 from Barcelona and Wenger soon made him Arsenal’s youngest ever player when he handed him his first-team debut against Rotherham in a League Cup tie at Arsenal’s old ground, Highbury.
Fabregas would go onto captain the North London side and made 212 Premier League appearances for the club before returning to the Nou Camp in 2011.
The 31-year-old has since returned to English football with Chelsea and he has expressed his admiration for his former coach after Wenger announced that he will be stepping down as Arsenal manager after 22 years in the job at the end of this campaign.
“He’s a special man and a special person – full of class, full of integrity and I really wish him all the best,” Fabregas told Sky Sports.
“Football and myself will miss him so much. It was a sad day when I heard.
“He changed English football. I remember when I was little, you watch any Premier League game and you really only saw long balls and a lot of headers and tackles.
“But then you see Manchester United and Arsenal play and it’s like you are watching another sport – and Arsene has so much to do with it.
“His philosophy has always been to play beautiful football, take youngsters to another level, bring them up to higher standards and always make them believe they can achieve.
“I can name you so many young players that nobody else in the world believed in, but he did. Then they became world class and they won everything in the game.”