Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may not win many friends in Major League Soccer with comments like these.
[ RELATED: Shaw joins United’s injury list ]
The legendary Arsenal boss, 65, has grouped MLS in with the newly established Indian Super League (ISL) as league’s that players should go to after playing at the top level.
Basically: a league for semi-retired Premier League players over the age of 34. Apparently.
In a wide-ranging interview with the club website, Arsenal’s manager was asked what he thought about former Gunners Robert Pires, Mikel Silvestre, Nicolas Anelka and Freddie Ljungberg suiting up and playing in the current ISL season.
“You have two steps. Being completely at the top finishes when you are 34 at the latest. After that, you have different leagues like the MLS and the Indian league. I encourage players to play as long as possible if they really love it.
It is hard to argue with his comments for the most part, especially if you look at Thierry Henry, David Beckham and Robbie Keane and their age when they moved to MLS, plus David Villa and Frank Lampard heading to the States for the 2015 season the wrong side of 30.
Arsenal traveled to the USA to play a friendly against the New York Red Bulls in July and a bumper crowd welcomed the Gunners to Red Bull Arena, but Arsene must not have been too impressed with what he saw from the MLS outfit given these comments. Or, is he just saying what managers, players and people in general from England and Europe think of MLS?
Later in the lengthy interview, Wenger was asked about more English players heading to North America and India.
You mentioned the MLS and the Indian Super League too. Do you see more English players going there in the future once they finish here?
“I believe that if you look at the history of football, it has always become quicker and it looks like it grows everywhere. It’s like a virus that multiplies, so I don’t imagine that it won’t take off. It took a while in the United States but it’s now very popular.
“It faces cricket in India but there’s always room for a second sport. There’s only really badminton and cricket in India at the moment but there’s room for another sport. I know that the people there watch the Premier League and I’m convinced that with such a huge population, it will take off.”