Arsene Wenger celebrated his 65th birthday yesterday with the club announcing that their wise manager was “65 years young” despite the fact he is looking older every week as the stress of the current season is getting to him. Rightly so, even I feel a little older this season but at 65 years old is it time to question whether Wenger is still still young enough to do his job?
There was once a time when YouTube was littered with videos of Wenger playing football and participating in training, he proved many a time that he could still kick it even in his late fifties but in recent years we have seen a slow down in physical action from our manager.
Gone are the videos showing off his talent, we no longer see the animated pitch side directions he once gave preferring to now sit in the dugout unless he feels the need to push Mourinho which incidentally was the most action we have seen from him in years. It’s true that he once said that when he had ‘The Invincibles’ that he didn’t feel the need to get up and direct them but since then we haven’t had a team that matched them so they need him to be on the sidelines telling them what to do.
It was rumoured that after the Everton loss in April Wenger told fans who asked why he sat through the whole game in the dug out and didn’t get up to motivate the players that he no longer “had the energy to do that anymore” which is fair enough but then get Bouldy to do it instead or accept that maybe he needs to hire a younger coach.
The Premiership has modernised so much over the past ten years and Wenger has failed to keep up with how fast things like tactics and the way the game has to be adapted per opponent unless every player is consistently good. He has failed to change much over the last few years and it’s becoming clear that he has lost the ability he once has this could be down to stubbornness or it could be down to age.
I can’t say for sure whether age has anything to do with decline in Wenger’s management in recent years but what I do know is age plays a big part in this modern day game.
The average age of the Premiership manager has decreased over the past few years and managers are getting younger, they are the ones are seemingly more in touch with the footballers having only left their playing careers behind them in recent years. They have the full ability and energy to run around a training pitch and still massively be part of coaching them and demonstrating tactics. They have an advantage to someone like Wenger who might be a genius but doesn’t really understand what it is like to play football today and how much the game has changed.
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