‘I’m sure Indian League will take off’

Arsène Wenger understands the difficulties players go through

Arsene Wenger is convinced the new Indian Super League will be a big success.

Five former Gunners are part of the inaugural competition: Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Nicolas Anelka, Mikel Silvestre and Andre Santos.

Wenger has taken a keen interest in the competition, and believes it offers a great opportunity for older players to extend their careers.

"I know that the people there watch the Premier League and I'm convinced that with such a huge population, it will take off"

Arsene Wenger

“Being completely at the top finishes when you are 34 at the latest,” the manager told the Arsenal Magazine. “After that, you have different leagues like the MLS and the Indian Super League.

“I encourage players to play as long as possible if they really love it. Pires is 40 but he still plays and when he comes to training here, he's still very good.

“The only thing I always say is that once you're on the pitch, you give your best. Your age doesn't matter - people can understand that you're not as quick at 40 as you were at 30. Play with passion, with your heart and technical quality - that will be enough.

“They give a good image of the game. They can make football popular on different continents and in different countries, where it's taking off. I think it's fantastic.”

While cricket is comfortably the most popular sport in India, Wenger is convinced there is still space in the marketplace for a competitor.

“If you look at the history of football, it has always become quicker and it looks like it grows everywhere. It's like a virus that multiplies, so I don't imagine that it won't take off,” he said.

“It took a while in the United States but it's now very popular. It faces cricket in India but there's always room for a second sport. There's only really badminton and cricket in India at the moment but there's room for another sport.

“I know that the people there watch the Premier League and I'm convinced that with such a huge population, it will take off.”

The November edition of the Arsenal Magazine is out now, featuring exclusive interviews with Danny Welbeck, Arsène Wenger, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott, Robert Pires and Nigel Winterburn, as well as in depth features, statistical analysis and competitions.

Priced at £3.50, it’s available from all club shops and good newsagents, as well as from programme sellers at all home games across the next month. You can also subscribe online here or call 0845 301 7626.

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