Wenger issues warning over Bellerin; talks England job

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Arsene Wenger isn’t best pleased about the latest rumors regarding Hector Bellerin.

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Arsenal’s 21-year-old right back has been repeatedly linked with a move to Manchester City and his former club Barcelona in recent weeks as he’s yet to sign a new long-term contract with the Gunners.

Bellerin has become a mainstay at Arsenal after swapping Barcelona for Arsenal as a teenager and he was voted in the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year last season for his speedy play from right back.

Ahead of Arsenal clash against Swansea City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBC Sports) at the Emirates, Wenger was asked about Bellerin’s future. He doesn’t see why he’d go back to Barca, a la Cesc Fabregas.

“He has nearly three years to go, we always try to get the players to the [financial] level where we think they deserve to be,” Wenger said. “We will try to extend his contract, his long-term future is here. He has been absolutely fantastic. His first game was a nightmare. The season before he was at Watford where he didn’t play. His progress has been brilliant because he has absolutely top mental strength.”

“I think now that you do not necessarily have to play where you were born. Modern life is not exactly like that and what is important is that the player meets his needs where he is and his values, and I think he integrated very well the values of our club and he came at a very, very young age of 15-and-a-half, 16 years of age. I think he is a real Arsenal player.”

The Frenchman, 66, was also asked about the England manager’s job.

Wenger has been linked with the Three Lions job with his current deal at Arsenal set to run out next summer, but he doesn’t feel impacted by speculation linking him with the job and believes current interim boss Gareth Southgate could be the right man for England.

“I focus on my job,” Wenger said. “He (Southgate) has handled himself quite well, he has accumulated experiences and was a good observer of what’s going on in the national team. We’re in a job where you get questioned, especially if you have less experience and the only answer he can give is by showing the decisions he makes are right.”

Wenger also confirmed that Francis Coquelin will be available this weekend, while Aaron Ramsey is edging closer to a return and Carl Jenkinson played for Arsenal’s U23 side after 10-month injury layoff.