Football

Time to celebrate Wenger’s achievements: Wes Brown

Wes Brown .

Wes Brown .  

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‘I’m not disappointed that he has stepped down, but it is sad’

Former Manchester United defender Wes Brown believes that football fans should celebrate the good times that Arsene Wenger brought to Arsenal, instead of harping on his recent barren run. After spending nearly 22 years as manager at Arsenal, Wenger recently stepped down.

“I’m not disappointed that he has stepped down, but it is sad, because he has been a great manager. A lot of fans were not happy that he didn’t win a title for 10 years. But this is a time to celebrate his achievements, rather than focus on the negatives,” Brown said here on Friday.

The 38-year-old was in the city to visit the ‘Theater of Dreams’ — a recreation of the Old Trafford stadium experience — at Orion Mall.

Brown lent his support to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, despite criticism that Mourinho’s style is not the attack-first approach associated with the teams of old. “Mourinho is a different manager with a different style. He’s doing a good job. It’s a shame that he can’t have all the players fit all the time. But the team is improving every season, and maybe we can win the title next year,” Brown said.

The Englishman was a part of the Manchester United squad which famously clinched the treble in 1999. Though Brown was on the substitutes bench in the thrilling 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the 1998-99 Champions League final, he cited the occasion as the highlight of his career. “That feeling we had in 1999, the way we won — that was hard to beat. My assist to (Cristiano) Ronaldo in the 2007-08 Champions League final is right up there too. I put the cross in with my left foot. To be fair, we practised it for a week before the match. We knew that Ronaldo was very good in the air,” Brown said.

From 2011 to 2016, Brown plied his trade at Sunderland. Since his departure, the club has suffered two successive relegations, and now finds itself in League One. “I’m absolutely gutted. The fans were brilliant, but the club didn’t get the players that they wanted. There were a lot of injuries through the season as well,” Brown said.

On Manchester City winning the 2017-18 English Premier League title, Brown said, “Man City has been brilliant this year. The way they have attacked in style — it was well deserved. Next year, it will be harder for them. The other teams will know what to expect, so they will have to step up their game.”

Asked about England’s chances at the upcoming 2019 FIFA World Cup, Brown replied, “The expectations are different this time — not everyone thinks we can win it. This could be a good thing, as the players can relax and focus on the game.”

In May last year, Brown suffered through a personal ordeal, when his daughter Halle was caught up in the bomb attack at Manchester Arena.

“Luckily, she got home safe. She was on the phone with us the whole time, so we knew she was okay. It was very distressing,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 1:52:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/time-to-celebrate-wengers-achievements-brown/article23702024.ece

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