By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger thinks you need to be "crazy" to sacrifice your life for football management - but the Frenchman still expects many of his former players to do just that.

The Arsenal boss comes face to face with Roy Keane on Saturday, a totemic figure in Manchester United's team for much of Wenger's reign and now the manager of Sunderland.

Keane is the latest in a long line of United stars from the 1990s who have made their mark in top-flight management. Paul Ince (Blackburn), Mark Hughes (Manchester City) and Steve Bruce (Wigan) are all established Premier League bosses but Wenger's former Gunners are conspicuous by their absence in the top jobs. The Frenchman expects that to change, provided his former charges can accept the lifestyle management brings.

"I believe all [my ex-players] have the qualities to do it," said Wenger. "For example David Platt went for it, Paul Merson went for it and stopped again. I believe that Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Steve Bould, Tony Adams can do it. I expect them to do it.

"They have the qualities but do you want to sacrifice your life for this job? It's as simple as that because there is no in-between. Sometimes people who have played for their whole careers do not want to do it anymore."

Some Highbury heroes from the previous decade are getting closer to management. Adams is currently assistant manager to Harry Redknapp at Portsmouth, Keown has worked alongside Wenger at Arsenal and managed the Oxford University side, while Bould coaches Arsenal's academy youngsters and has overseen the development of players such as Jack Wilshere in recent years.

Wenger believes the former centre back can make the step up but admits that management is a big sacrifice for any former player, and especially one with a family.

"Steve Bould is at the moment a very good coach but at the moment maybe the life is more convenient for him," said Wenger.

"It is not always a sign of quality to be a manager, it is more a sign of craziness. It is a choice of life, for me it is a job for a single man. You have to be single, single-minded as well, you have to sacrifice a lot of your life and not everyone wants to do it.

"If you take a guy like Steve Bould, he has played from the age of 18 or 20 to 37, 38... and he has children. In our job you must be ready to take your luggage and go from one country to the next, to Greece, to Japan. It is not a family life."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
3 Oct 2008