By Richard Clarke

Players don’t have to converse off the pitch if they speak the common language of football on it says Arsène Wenger.

Media reports on Friday suggested that Kolo Toure and William Gallas had fallen out for a period this season but the problem was now sorted out.

The Arsenal manager takes such speculation with a major pinch of salt. It clearly has not affected his team because, as it happens, Wenger’s defence has been rock-solid in 2009. And, in any case, the Frenchman believes even the most frosty personal relationships are regularly put on hold for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon.

“I have not read about that [between Toure and Gallas],” he said. “And I am very cautious about it.

“But I have said many times what is important, when you are professionals, is that you play together.

“To be professional is to do what it takes for your team to be successful, no more than that. It does not mean that you go to paradise together.

“You have big examples of players who did not get on very well, but that does not mean they cannot play together.

“In football, you can put a Russian with an American at the highest period of [Cold War] tension, and they can make a sport together and play very well together. Even though they do not speak together.

“That is because the sport demands the analysis of a situation in a fraction of a second, and both can have that.

“The most important thing is the big players respect the game. They put that respect for the game at a higher level than any other situation - if the game needs me to give you the ball now, even if I do not like you, then I give you the ball.”

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
13 Mar 2009