Arsene Wenger has hit out at the claims that Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will progress better having left Arsenal.
The pair both left the club on deadline day this summer, joining West Brom and Liverpool respectively, and both have made comments talking positively about their departures.
The Gunners boss clearly felt like a nerve had been touched when asked about their statements, and has a dig at the pair’s performances since leaving North London.
“Once someone takes the decision to leave I wish them well and focus on my squad, but just look at the performances of the players who left us and then come back to me about it,” said Wenger.
“Learning is an attitude in life. It doesn’t depend on your geographical status, but more of the attitude in your brain. Are you ready to question yourself every day to see if you can improve? Kieran Gibbs became an England international here. He was a regular player many times but he had some fitness worries so we didn’t offer him a new deal and that’s why he decided to go.
“You should ask him what he means about being a better defender at West Brom. He will certainly have to defend more because we are a team that goes forward and they are a team who focus more on defending.”
Gibbs was earmarked as the successor to Ashley Cole but Wenger concedes a succession of injury problems stalled those plans. “Kieran had more health problems than Ashley Cole, who had a frail aspect but a tough body,” added the manager.
“Sometimes Ashley had ankle problems but he still played. He played 50 games a year and Kieran had more injury problems than him. It will seem strange to see Kieran in a different shirt because he was educated here from a very young age so I am sure he will have great motivation for this game.”
The Ox has already endured a disastrous time at Anfield, being left on the bench mostly, while disappointing at every opportunity he has had thus far. Gibbs is certainly no Ashley Cole, but was a competent defender in his time for us, but there was always better available.
Were the duos comments simply common place having moved to a new side? Were they supposed to provoke a reaction from Wenger?