Arsene Wenger: Arsenal boss backs English managers for Premier League success

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Arsene Wenger responds to Phil Neville's criticism of Nacho Monreal

It is only a matter of time before an English manager wins the Premier League title, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

It is 25 years since Howard Wilkinson led Leeds to the 1992 title, the year before the Premier League was formed.

"I don't think it will last another 25 years," said Wenger, referring to "many promising young English managers".

Wenger also defended his players after they were criticised for being too friendly with the Manchester United team prior to Sunday's game.

And he offered sympathy to striker Lucas Perez over his lack of first-team action.

The Gunners face Southampton in the Premier League at St Mary's on Wednesday, knowing a win will left them above Manchester United into fifth in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

'We are at a turning point'

To mark 25 years since the last English manager won the top flight, at 19:30 BST on Tuesday a BBC Radio 5 live special asks if an English manager will ever win the Premier League.

Wenger, who has won the title three times with Arsenal since taking over from Bruce Rioch in 1996, said: "I don't think it is especially an England problem, it is down to the fact the Premier League has attraction power internationally and today all the big clubs have foreign managers.

"Before, many Scottish people have won the championship in England. We have many young English managers who are promising.

"The English federation has done a good job in educating coaches and you will see a change in that.

"When I arrived I remember there were articles saying foreign managers can never win the championship.

"It will change again, I'm convinced, we are at a turning point in English football history and some English managers will win the Premier League."

'It is part of the modern game'

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'Monreal thinks he's at a christening!' Tunnel antics annoy Neville

Match of the Day 2 pundits Phil Neville and Martin Keown criticised Arsenal and Manchester United players for hugging and laughing in the tunnel before the Gunners' 2-0 victory at the Emirates on Sunday.

The former suggested that Nacho Monreal looked like he was "going to a christening".

When asked about the incident, Wenger responded: "I understand the pundits are a bit surprised. Ten, 15 years ago that didn't exist but it is an international thing now - you watch Real Madrid versus Barcelona and it is the same.

"It doesn't stop making players focused. It is pictures we're not used to seeing but it is part of the modern game. Maybe it happened 10, 15 years ago but you didn't have cameras in the tunnel."

'I feel sorry for Perez'

Lucas Perez
Lucas Perez has scored one league goal for Arsenal - against Bournemouth in January

Arsenal signed Perez for £17.1m from Deportivo La Coruna in August 2016 but the 28-year-old Spaniard has made just 21 appearances for the Gunners this season, starting only twice in the Premier League.

He has scored seven times, including a hat-trick in the Champions League group game at Basel.

"He is a top quality striker, I couldn't give him the games he wants and deserves and I feel sorry for him," said Wenger.

"Don't take anything away from his quality. I would love to [keep him] if I am the manager but we have to sit down together and see if he has a reasonable chance to play or not."

Wenger's contract expires at the end of the season and the club has offered a new two-year deal. However, the 67-year-old has yet to declare his intentions.

He has been criticised by some fans, who are unhappy at the club's performance this season.

They were knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League by Bayern Munich and are currently sixth in the league table, while they face Chelsea in the FA Cup final at the end of May.

'I decide what happens on the technical front'

Michael Zorc
Michael Zorc has spent his entire career with Borussia Dortmund as player and football director

It was reported in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph that Borussia Dortmund director of football Michael Zorc has been approached about taking a job with Arsenal.

When asked about the story, Wenger said: "What does it mean? Is it someone who stands on the road and directs the player right and left, I have never understood what it means?

"I'm not prepared to talk about that, I'm the manager of Arsenal Football Club and as long as I am the manager I will decide what happens on the technical front."

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