Sol Campbell believes that Arsenal’s squad must start policing the quality of their performances citing Jack Wilshere’s passion as a lead to follow.
Speaking on the same day that Arsene Wenger stressed his side need to become more physical, the ‘Invincible’ centre-back, who quit Spurs to become a winner of trophies, underlined his belief in the technical quality of the players at the Emirates before labouring into hackneyed clichés about cold, wet nights in the North of England.
“They’re a great footballing side, Arsenal,” Campbell told The Telegraph.
“They play fantastic football. But it comes down to those final moments where you need leaders. And not just one leader, you need five leaders up and down the pitch. It’s too much for one guy. You need four or five leaders to cement that winning mentality and hopefully make it change.
“People like Jack Wilshere – he’s fantastic, he’s great for the future. He knows what it means to play for Arsenal and what it means to the club to win. He’s grown up seeing Arsenal win things and compete. So you do need a lot more of his kind of calibre, in different positions.
Reflecting on the success achieved during his five year spell at Highbury the ex-England man, who is better placed than most to compare the current status quo with our title-winning sides having returned for sixth month loan two years ago, continued:
“In my era we policed it ourselves. We policed it to make sure no one’s level dropped. You can’t play great in every single game but you don’t want a slump leading on for five, 10 games, a whole season. You’ve got to keep those standards up. You need a lot more guys to help you out. One guy with a lot of passion is not enough.
“It’s about bringing in the right type of players. Players who understand the game here, who understand what it means going up north to a wet, windy Yorkshire night and you’re away from home in the middle of the week and you’ve got to win the game.”
Perhaps aware that we’re no longer the bully-boys we once were (remember when you could see the fear in the faces of opponents in the tunnel?) Arsene Wenger admitted that he too is eager to see his players assert themselves more physically on games.
“Maybe we have to go back a little bit, not less technical but a bit more physical and aggressive,” said Wenger, who was boosted by the confirmation Theo Walcott had finally signed a contract extension.
“I think that when [referees] see Arsenal on the sheet, they say ‘oh fantastic’ [to referee them].
“This side are physical players, but we have to restructure the balance of the team a little bit.
“The players have the character to do it. The [likes of] [Jack] Wilshere are technical players, but they are also physical players.”
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