Arsène Wenger had to take drastic action on the training ground during his time as manager of Nagoya Grampus - because of his players' incredible desire to learn.

The Arsenal boss was a big success during his 18-month spell in Japan in the mid-nineties, winning the Emperor's Cup and taking his club from the bottom of the J-League to the runners-up spot.

Wenger in Japan
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Japan is a growing force on the international stage but Wenger believes their players lead the way when it comes to commitment and a sheer hunger for the game.

"Of course they were lacking tactical experience [in Japan], but the technical level was quite good, as was the physical level," Wenger told Arsenal Player.

"Plus there was a real desire to learn. For example, when we had training sessions at 10am, I used to arrive at about 8am or 8.15am but the first players were already there and already out on the pitch trying to improve.

"Eventually I had to hide the balls because by the time training started the players were already tired! They were so keen that I had to say to the kitman 'don't put out the balls until I tell you.'

"But the players were so hungry to play, and that was really nice for a coach because sometimes in Europe you got the feeling that the players did not have the same level of commitment."

You could go into any restaurant, leave your phone and keys on the table, go somewhere else, buy a newspaper, come back and you could be sure it would still be there

Wenger was also taken aback by the attitude and conduct of the Japanese public.

"Another big discovery was how much respect people had for you and how much they wanted to please you," he recalled.

"That was fantastic because in Europe we are used to having to show an aggressive level, you have to show that you are ready to 'kill' other people to be successful or you are a nobody. That was a big change of culture, and a very pleasant one.

"Something else I discovered was that you could go into any restaurant, leave your phone and keys on the table, go somewhere else, buy a newspaper, come back and you could be sure it would still be there. That sounds absolutely unbelievable but you discover a freedom that was non-existent before.

"If you did that in Europe, people would call you absolutely stupid for not taking those things with you. But you should be capable of doing that because they don't belong to anyone else, they belong to you. I don't know if it's still like that today in Japan, but it was like that at the time."

Arsenal will face Wenger's former club as part of the Asia Tour 2013 on July 22 at the 45,000-capacity Toyota Stadium. Click here for details

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Chris Harris 5 Jun 2013