By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has made countless decisions during his 24 years in football management. Some he's got wrong, most he's got right, but none have been tougher than telling an experienced player he is surplus to requirements.

The Frenchman was asked to identify the least appetising part of his profession at his pre-match press conference on Friday. The subject cropped up after Wenger expressed his regret at Matthew Upson's decision to leave Arsenal in 2003.

The West Ham defender will line up against his former club at Upton Park on Sunday and is a rare example of a player who has gone on to better things after breaking his ties with Wenger.

The Arsenal manager has had to tell many less talented youngsters that their time at Arsenal is up. But he insists that having the same conversation with an experienced player is worse.

"It's harder to tell a player who has battled for you for so many years that his time has come. Nobody likes to hear that," said Wenger.

"You say to a young player, 'Listen, you will not play here, it is better if you go somewhere else,' and he still has the hope to do it. The end of something is more difficult.

"I've had a few tough [decisions]," he added. "I think the next one is always the toughest because the rest you forget.

"I have enough experience now to know that in life what is most important is to try and make the right decisions. People need to feel that you do it because you think it is right."

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
24 Oct 2008