As a player, and now as his assistant manager, Steve Bould holds a unique position when it comes to Arsene Wenger.
The combative centre back was part of the first-team squad at Arsenal when the little-known Frenchman took charge 20 years ago, and he had an immediate impact on him and the rest of the team.
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"He changed our diet, the way we ate. Just little bits all the time,” Bould told Arsenal Player. “We were stretching before games and we realised that we couldn’t live the life that we were leading before, that every club in the country was doing at the time.
“He was ahead of the game, he saw players that people hadn’t seen, the Vieiras, the Petits… he had knowledge that people didn’t know of at the time. It was an eye-opener that we all took on board.
“Behind closed doors [as Wenger's assistant manager], it’s different than I imagined as a player. We get on great. He’s patient with everybody and I think we all learn something from him, regardless of our position within the club. He just knows so much.”
Bould would be surprised to see Wenger’s 20-year reign feat replicated in the future, but says working alongside the Frenchman is a constant learning process.
“I don’t think it will be done again to be honest, at this level,” he said. “Twenty years ago, who would have said that he’d still be here, so it’s a massive achievement.
“Patience, knowledge… he’s got just about everything. Under pressure he is incredibly cool so just sitting, watching and learning from him is a pleasure for me.
“Just the fact that under extreme pressure, how he behaves… obviously when I was a player I never saw that side. But once the office door is closed, it’s a different environment and he’s very patient with people. His knowledge about football is beyond belief.
“Each year goes and he has this burning desire to win, it’s incredible really and you know, if we’ve all got that after 20 years in any job, then it’s something to admire.”
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