By Chris Harris
Tony Adams is the first of Arsène Wenger's Arsenal protégées to take charge of a Premier League club. As far as the Frenchman is concerned, he probably won't be the last.
Plenty of Wenger's former players are pursuing coaching careers. Dennis Bergkamp and Oleg Luzhny have taken up posts on the continent, Nigel Winterburn is the new defensive coach at Blackburn, Martin Keown has managed Oxford's university team while Steve Bould is in charge of Arsenal's Under-18s.
Earlier this month Wenger insisted that "all my ex-players have the qualities to become managers". Ahead of tonight's North London derby, the Frenchman argued that the sooner his former Gunners take the plunge, the better.
"I always encourage my former players to become coaches," said Wenger.
"I know in this job one of the difficult things to deal with is the pressure and the earlier you get used to that the better it is. If you wait until you are 45, 46 before you take a job where you have the whole club on your shoulders, it weighs very heavy. The earlier you get into that the better it is."
Wenger is still in contact with many of his ex-players and the new Portsmouth manager has been one of the beneficiaries of his wisdom. The Frenchman will continue to offer advice to the likes of Adams - provided it is not to Arsenal's detriment.
"We have been in regular contact when it was needed," said Wenger. "When he [Adams] was at Wycombe, when he was in Holland and even now he is at Portsmouth. I have had him on the phone recently.
"I will still be happy to give advice as long as it is not in a situation in which he is competitive with Arsenal – such as we are interested in the same player. A specific problem I will be happy to help with. You are always happy to give advice. I used to call people for advice when I was a young coach."Copyright 2013 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 29 Oct 2008