By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger is not prepared to be labelled as the villain of English football.
Media reports on Friday morning suggested a PFA dossier had singled out the Arsenal manager for his recruitment of youngsters. It argued his policy of bringing through foreign talent was damaging home-grown players.
At his press conference on Friday, Wenger countered by re-iterating his belief that English football must look forward and beyond national boundaries.
"When a guy sits in the stands at Arsenal Football Club and sees a fantastic cross and a volley, he doesn't think 'Eboue, where does he come from?'" he said. "He either enjoys it or he doesn't.
"Arsenal has done a lot for the popularity of the game all over the world. I think that is the most important thing for me, not to see where the players come from. What is important is that people who pay £60 enjoy what they see.

"It is not my responsibility that the English national does well. I am happy if they do well but it is not my first priority.
"However, at the same time, I'm in a job where I have to accept sometimes to be blamed for things I am not necessarily responsible for. From 1966 to 1996 England had no foreigners, and you didn't win anything more, or anything less."
Wenger also argued that, to a certain extent, finances had directed his transfer policy.

"At Arsenal Football Club I have to see how can I compete with Man United and Chelsea," said the Frenchman. "It has to be in a different way - with our resources - it is as simple as that.

"We had to try in our own way to be successful and this was to buy young players. But I must say we have young English players - as well as top players like Hoyte and Walcott - who are very good and maybe they will come out and play."

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
Richard Clarke 7 Dec 2007