10 Things We Learnt In Lockdown With Jens Lehmann (Part 2) by Dan Smith
Why I was looking forward to Jens Lehmann being a guest on Arsenal’s Lockdown Series as his reputation is to call a spade a spade. Where Part 1 was a conversation about his achievements, Part 2 is more of an insight into how he dealt with disappointments.
Here are 10 Things We Learnt in Lockdown With Jens Lehmann (part 2)
That Night In Paris
14 years on, Lehmann says it’s still hard to talk about the Champions League Final against Barcelona. He still feels guilty that his red card meant Pires had to be subbed early and recalls him sitting sadly with his children in the stands.
The same ref who sent him off, years later said he now would have awarded the Eto goal and kept it 11 vs 11.
He Didn’t Support Almunia
There are no specific stories of Lehmann picking on Almunia, but he admits everyday upsetting the Spaniard with his treatment. He felt compelled, when leaving, to explain it was nothing personal and he in fact liked him as a person.
The German keeper coldly explains he had taught Almunia that if someone wants your spot, there is no such thing as a competitor being your friend.
Kahn Doesn’t Support Lehmann
Maybe it’s a German thing but Oliver Kahn didn’t speak to Lehmann during the 2006 World Cup, sulking because he believed he was going to be his country’s number one for the tournament. He briefly got a good luck before the penalty shoot-out with Argentina.
Wenger Asked Him To Leave In 2006!
Having made a couple of mistakes the player was dropped for the first time as a Gunner. He was furious when Mr Wenger suggested he leave to ensure he didn’t lose his starting place at the next World Cup which Germany were hosting. Lehmann simply didn’t believe Almunia was better than him and was so angry he went straight to the gym and hurt himself through pure rage.
Did Wenger regret Keeping David Seaman?
When answering a question Lehmann gives an answer that maybe Arsene Wenger would have liked to have kept private?
In trying to convince the player to leave, his manager cited not wanting to repeat the mistake of letting a keeper stay till he was too old (adding Lehmann was looking tired). I wonder what a certain David Seaman makes of that.
In his final two years at Highbury he won a title and two FA Cups so it’s not like he was doing bad. Knowing what we do now it’s more likely with debt from the Emirates to pay off this was just an attempt from the club to reduce the wage bill.
Lehmann went two weeks being angry with his boss, not understanding why he was being overlooked for Almunia. He was then advised to read a book which changed his outlook. It was based on how positive energy changes perception from others.
Instead of now every day arguing with his manager in his office, he was telling him how he would change his mind and win back his spot. Which he did.
Left Too Soon
The keeper shares the widely viewed belief that the ‘Invincibles’ were broken up way too soon. He explains that after the Emirates first season, he and Gilberto Silva were the only two left from the side that last won the title. At this point he claims it wasn’t even about always playing but giving the dressing room some experience would have been vital.
An Immature Dressing Room
He doesn’t name his source but, after leaving, Lehmann was informed that young players at Arsenal were acting like they were special if they happened to have a good game.
He’s not being critical of Fabregas or Van Persie, saying that was natural due to their age. He explains though it can’t be healthy for a teenager walking around thinking he’s the top guy. This is another reason why Lehmann felt the club should have hung on to having more experienced players around the place.
Returns At 41
Having retired Lehmann had trained a couple of times with his former club simply to stay fit. When Arsenal had injuries to all of their back up keepers, they signed their ex keeper to a short-term deal.
At the age of 41 he played his first ever reserve game.
When Almunia got injured in the warm up at Blackpool, Lehmann became our oldest ever player to play in the Premiership. We won 3-1.
He Wanted To Play Longer
Says everything about his personality that even at the age of 41 and having retired, he wasn’t content with the one-off appearance.
Now with that competitiveness bug back he asked to keep playing to help us in the title run in. He didn’t understand a week later why a young Szczesny would be picked ahead of him. He was overconfident to the very end.
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