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Overmars - I’m glad Wenger took gamble

Marc Overmars says his first season at Arsenal was the best of his career - after Arsene Wenger took a “gamble” on him. 

The Holland international joined the club in June 1997 from Ajax, not long after recovering from a serious knee injury.

Overmars played a key role as the Gunners won the Double in his first season in England, and he says it was an unforgettable time for him.

“[When I signed] people were saying, ‘No, he is not good enough, he is not at this level’,” he told Arsenal Player.

“I had a bad surgery on my knee, when you are 22 years old it is quite a tough injury - especially in those days. But for me, there was no doubt. I just needed to recover and be there again.

“I’m very happy Wenger could see past that and see my potential as a player. He saw it, and it was a strength of his to take the gamble. The year after that, I had the best year of my career.

“In that period, we were playing and feeling like we were unbeatable. It was the best period of my life as a football player.

“We had Ray Parlour, who had done extremely well. He delivered so much power and work so I could play with more risk up front because Ray was doing a lot of the defensive work.

“Same for Petit, same for Vieira - they let me play a little bit higher so that is why I could score a lot of goals.

“In my opinion, if it is an English team, it doesn’t matter if you are Arsenal or Chelsea or Manchester United, you have to get the base of English players.

“You have to get that idea, because it is good to have that feeling of support and the area and support as a fan.”