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Video: Arsenal boss explains Walcott's 'special destiny'

Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott has a "special destiny" because nothing has gone to plan throughout his international career.

The Gunners boss was tackling questions about an interview he conducted earlier this week where he mentioned Walcott's destiny, and used the opportunity to praise him for overcoming two big setbacks stretching back ten years.

The England winger was a shock inclusion in England's 2006 World Cup squad at the age of 17, but failed to make an appearance in Germany. He was overlooked by Fabio Capbello four years later, while injury ruled him out of last year's World Cup in Brazil.

Addressing the media this morning, Wenger said:

It's unusual that a boy at 17 years-old goes to the World Cup and that after he has the problems, for example, when England went to Brazil [Walcott was injured].

He was not selected by Capello in 2010 in South Africa and after in 2014 he was injured, you know. It's special. When a boy goes at 17 years of age to the World Cup you think he will make four or five appearance, so he's a special player.

He's had special tests on the mental front an overcome them all. So, I think he will have a special destiny as a player because nothing happens like planned with him but he always responds in a very strong way.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger


Wenger admits lack of consistency cost Arsenal

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have shown their potential for a Premier League title challenge in the second half of the season after conceding the initiative to Chelsea in the opening months of the season.

Wenger is already eyeing a better title challenge next season. Credit: PA

Chelsea inflicted the Gunners' first loss of the campaign in October, but Wenger's side had already drawn four of their first six games, losing ground to the Blues.

A late season rally - nine wins in a 10-match unbeaten streak - has not been enough for Arsenal to challenge Chelsea, but the Gunners will aim to extend the run against Swansea on Monday night.

The Arsenal manager said:

There are many turning points, one of them was that we had some players back and defensively we were much stronger in the second part of the season than the first part.

We still have room for improvement there. Maybe we have more stability and more balance in the team. We were not consistent enough. After eight games we were 11 points behind Chelsea.

If we win our game in hand (against Sunderland on May 20) we are 10 points behind Chelsea. That means in the first eight games we lost our championship and that's what we have to address next season and start strong.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Wenger offers 'complete support' to Arsenal teenager

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given Ainsley Maitland-Niles his "complete support" following a dispute involving the player's mother at the training ground.

Maitland-Niles has received Wenger's full backing. Credit: PA

Police were called to the Premier League club's Hertfordshire training complex in March following a confrontation between Jule Niles, Arsenal executive Dick Law and her son's agent, and again last month when she had subsequently threatened to withdraw the winger from an under-21 match before refusing to leave the premises.

No charges followed, but Niles has been issued with a warning.

The 17-year-old still lives at home and Wenger believes everyone only wants the best for his development.

Wenger said:

It is basically a private matter that I don't know really well about because I don't know what happened, but I know Ainsley very well and he has my complete support because he is a good boy and I am sure his mother wants a great future for him and to help him.

There are some incidents that I don't know well and I don't know why, but the boy has a perfect behaviour inside our club. There are many times in the week with me in training.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger


Wenger: Arsenal legend Vieira can be a successful manager

Arsene Wenger and Patrick Vieira enjoyed success at Arsenal. Credit: PA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Patrick Vieira has the credentials to become a successful manager.

But the Gunners boss thinks Manchester City already have a man of "super" calibre in their top job in Manuel Pellegrini.

Vieira, one of Wenger's most influential former Gunners captains, is currently the manager of City's elite development squad.

Recent speculation over Pellegrini's future has seen the Frenchman mentioned as a potential successor to the Chilean at the Etihad Stadium.

Wenger was asked about this possibility at his latest press conference but, while backing Vieira's ability, did not want to be drawn into the matter.

Wenger said of Vieira: "I believe like many other players he has the intelligence and the competence to do this job, but I believe that Pellegrini is of super-competence and super-quality as well - so if you want me to interfere in that, I am not ready to do it."

Wenger admits Arsenal were 'lucky' against Reading

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepted his side were "a bit lucky" after a fumble from Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici handed them a 2-1 extra-time victory and a place in the FA Cup final.

It was far from straightforward for Arsenal against Reading. Credit: PA

The Gunners will head back to Wembley on May 30 aiming to defend the trophy after edging past the Championship side, who had rallied after going behind just before half-time to a fine goal from Alexis Sanchez.

The Gunners will head back to Wembley on May 30 aiming to defend the trophy after edging past the Sky Bet Championship side, who had rallied after going behind just before half-time to a fine goal from Alexis Sanchez.

Reading drew level on 54 minutes when Garath McCleary's volley was deflected past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who could only palm the ball back over the line.

In the end, an error from Australian Federici proved so costly, the keeper allowing a low, angled shot from Sanchez to slip through his legs and roll over the line on 115 minutes.

It was a difficult game against a well organised, resilient, committed and physically strong Reading team.

They really wanted it Reading, they were willing to die on the pitch to go to the final and you have to congratulate them for the effort they put in.

In the end, we were a bit lucky because their keeper made a mistake and I can understand that he is distraught, but as well he kept them in the game for long periods.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss dismisses Klopp talk

Klopp has been linked with a move to the Premier League. Credit: PA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to add to the speculation over whether Jurgen Klopp will head to the Barclays Premier League at his Thursday morning press conference.

Klopp insisted on Wednesday that he had had no contact with any clubs, but stressed he did not plan to take an extended time-out from the game after announcing that he will end his seven-year spell at Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

The German has been installed as favourite to replace the under-fire Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, but Wenger was keen not to add fuel to the fire when quizzed on the matter.

"I'm not an agency to place managers and I like every manager and respect everybody, but I find that circus a bit ridiculous," the Frenchman said.

On whether Klopp would suit Arsenal, Wenger said: "I already answered this question."

Wenger does not believe Dortmund players will necessarily look to follow the charismatic 47-year-old out of the Westfalenstadion.

"It's down to every club to make the right decision and to respect Dortmund," he said. "Dortmund is a massive club and will survive, and has the ability to keep their best players.

"They have a big history linked with great results and great achievements, so I don't think that will stop for Dortmund."

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