Wenger for England, Guardiola for culture change – say Overmars and Xavi

By Samindra Kunti in Amsterdam

October 4 – Ajax’s director of football and former Arsenal player Marc Overmars has said that the time could be right for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal and become the England manager. Spanish midfielder Xavi believes that Pep Guardiola can profoundly change English football culture at Manchester City. 

Both Overmars and Xavi were speaking at the Aspire4Sport Global Summit on Football Performance & Science in Amsterdam.

The Dutchman was probed about Wenger’s credentials to become the England manager one day.

“I think that he would be an excellent choice for the English,” said Overmars. “Maybe it’s time for him, if he has the energy for it.”

Following Sam Allardyce’s resignation, speculation has been rife as to who will be the next Three Lions coach. Gareth Southgate is England’s interim manager, but Wenger has been tipped as a possible long term successor of Allardyce. The Frenchman’s contract at Arsenal expires at the end of the season. Last week Wenger celebrated 20 years at the North London club.

Overmars was answering questions alongside his compatriot Ronald de Boer who agreed that Wenger could be headed for English football’s top job. “Wenger could finish with Arsenal as champions which would be a nice way of rounding off his time there and then take the England job,” said de Boer.

A Q&A with Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol followed the Dutch duo’s chat. Xavi was adamant that Guardiola, the new Manchester City boss, can have a major impact on the English game.

“If there is somebody who can change the dynamics of English football or make a change to English football it is Pep Guardiola,” said Xavi. “I’m sure Manchester City will play great football and he will influence the players of Manchester City, you already see it through the attractive football. I’m in love with Barcelona but City are great.”

“Pep has a way of understanding football which is unique,” concluded Xavi. “He lets you understand how the play progresses. He changed the way of defending by attacking, it’s different. It is a very specific way of understanding football. Besides Johan Cruyff, Pep is the most important person in football in the last 50 years.”

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