Redknapp was a better tactician than Wenger, says ex-Arsenal forward Merson

goal.com, 4 August 2020, 14:11
Redknapp was a better tactician than Wenger, says ex-Arsenal forward Merson
The former Gunners man played under the manager at Portsmouth, playing some of his best football under him in the latter stages of his career

Harry Redknapp was a more accomplished tactician than Arsene Wenger, according to former Arsenal forward Paul Merson.

Merson spent 12 years at Arsenal but was sold to relegated Middlesbrough just one season into Wenger's reign, eventually going on to shine under Redknapp at Portsmouth.

Portsmouth were promoted to the Premier League after racking up 98 points under Redknapp in 2002-03, with Merson named in the First Division's Team of the Year.

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Now, Merson says he believes Redknapp was the best man-manager he played under, saying Wenger had a higher calibre of players to work with.

"One hundred per cent, best man-manager I've ever worked under, by a million miles," Merson told Sky Sports of Redknapp.

"As a man-manager knowing what you want or what you need, you could tell him what you need, he wouldn't tell you what you needed. I think that was a massive thing with him.

"The thing with Harry, people think, 'Oh, he's a wheeler-dealer'… his knowledge of football is second to none.

"I honestly think he's tactically better than Arsene Wenger, in my opinion. I worked under both.

"Tactically, if I know a manager who wants to set up, make sure we don't lose a game and stop the other team playing… for me, Harry is the man.

"He's with George Graham, that sort of [level]. Arsene Wenger, he had some unbelievable players.

"When you've got Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, [Robert] Pires, [Patrick] Vieira, [Emmanuel] Petit, [Marc] Overmars and [Freddie] Ljungberg… if I'm the manager of Arsenal, I'm opening the football match up!

"I want the game to expand, to go end-to-end because if it does, there's only one winner. That's Arsenal because of the players I just reeled off.

"But when you've got a manager who hasn't got that quality of player and you've got to set up, that's why I think Harry is a phenomenal manager.

"He put a team together, he pulled players into certain positions and it clicked. I played in a phenomenal football team."

Portsmouth's promotion campaign was the only league title Redknapp won in his career, though he also lifted cups with Pompey, West Ham and Bournemouth, and was named Premier League Manager of the Season in 2009-10.

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