Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has paid tribute to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the Frenchman announced his decision to step down as Gunners boss at the end of this season.
Neville was part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s United sides that had some legendary battles against Arsenal during the late nineties and early noughties. The former England international admitted that Wenger’s teams of that era were so good that they made forced his former club into raising their own game.
“The 1998 team was the best one, he got under our skins for a number of years, he was our greatest competitor in terms of going for PL titles.” Neville told Sky Sports.
“The football they played, the biggest compliment I can give him is that he played a level and type of football that made us change the way we played, which you don’t say about too many teams.”
Although Wenger’s 22 year stint at the Emirates has become somewhat soured over the last decade, amid poor performances on the pitch and growing fan unrest, it should not be forgotten that 68-year-old has had a huge impact on the Premier League.
Upon his arrival in England in 1996 he set about revolutionising the level of professionalism in terms of how players approached the game. Wenger was one of the first coaches in the Premier League to preach the importance of nutrition and recovery methods, which are now commonplace in the modern game.
His finest teams also played some of the most attractive football the English game has ever seen, and his 2002 ”Invincible,” team that went the whole season unbeaten will be forever remembered as one of the greatest ever.