Ex-Arsenal star reveals shock difference between Emery and Wenger

Freddie Ljungberg
Freddie Ljungberg

Former Arsenal winger, Freddie Ljungberg, believes current Gunners boss, Unai Emery is entirely different from his predecessor Arsene Wenger.

Ljunberg, 41, spent almost a decade with the Frenchman at the North London club.

He was a key member of that famous invincible squad that clinched two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, scoring in two finals including the victory in 2002.

However, barely six months in charge at the Emirates, Emery has already won the Swede over.

Ljunberg, who these days, is the Gunners’ U23 manager, believes with a bit more calmness and focus, the ex-PSG manager has been able to transform the team.

“There have certainly been some changes at the club since Arsene left,” said Ljungberg.

“Unai is very calm, composed and ­extremely detailed in what he ­expects. From Monday through to Friday, every single training session is very carefully planned.

“There is always a thought process to what the players are doing and the players have to be open-minded. They need to know their roles and what is expected of them.

“We speak regularly – and always after every U-23 game – because he wants that connection and for the teams below to replicate what ­happens in the first team.

“That’s fine for me because our principles are quite similar about how the game should be played – players who can play out from the back and not feel uncomfortable in any situation on the field. It’s detailed, with lots of ­information, but the philosophy is simple.”

Arsenal headed into the ­international break on the back of three successive draws, but they are unbeaten since ­August 18 – a ­16-match run that serves as evidence of Emery’s energetic impact.

Under Emery’s watch, the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Julio Pleguezuelo and Ainsley ­Maitland-Niles have been given a taste of first-team action.

Like a proud dad, Ljunberg is pleased to see the youngsters take the leap up.

“My job is to get as many players up into the first team as possible. He can take as many as he wants,” he added.

“The important thing is to make sure the boys are ready because he is a manager who believes in young players and what they can do.

“That has always been a feature of successful Arsenal teams. I want to provide players who can go up because they have the ability. But they will also have to know how to do the dirty stuff, at times, when they need to dig deep.

“The manager wants players who are ready to make their mark, but they have to be able to be part of a ­structure. That’s the way he is. He wants players who can ­express themselves, but within a ­discipline. He has come in with new ideas, with ­energy and he wants to make the club better.”