Arsene Wenger has revealed the ingredients which make up Arsenal’s highly technical pre-season training regime and confirmed his favour for lighter players with high technical ability.
The Frenchman, who sacrificed his side’s usual Austrian training camp in favour of a lucrative a tour of the Far East, saw his side booed off at the Emirates following a disappointing 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls but has never hidden the fact that the aim of summer training is to prepare for the long-term.
“Arsenal has a special way to play the game so of course we want to respect that in our programme,” the Frenchman confirmed in an interview with Nike’s Inside Edge website.
“Arsenal’s game is based on the ball on the ground, movement, technical quality. Therefore 90 per cent of the session is based on that.
“Our programme is never to add kilos to anybody, it is more to take off [weight] because contrary to the idea that people have the most important thing is the coordination; the lighter you are the more chances you have to be coordinated.”
Citing the impressive development of England midfielder Jack Wilshere, and with a nod to the likes of Emmanuel Frimpong, Carl Jenkinson and Benik Afobe, Wenger further stressed the importance of using friendly match minutes to assess the potential amongst his younger charges.
“For me the pre-season is a good opportunity to see the young players. You have this [2010/11] season for example Wilshere who played 50 games having convinced me during the pre-season.
“Because the difficulty of the games is getting bigger and bigger, you play first in a small game and he does well, you play in a bigger game and if he does well [again] then he can convince you that he has the level to be in the team.”
After a somewhat traumatic end to last season, the boss also conceded that the opportunity to reinvigorate the squad’s confidence was also a big part of his role:
“The coaching staff has to put a positive culture into the team because confidence at the start of the season will be very important.”
Adding his support to Wenger’s unique training set-up, club coach and 1993 Coca-Cola Cup hero, Steve Morrow continued:
“In general we probably have a different training programme to most clubs. It’s very technical based obviously which is hopefully reflected in the way we play on the field.”
Much criticism has been directed in recent seasons at the club’s medical staff due to the spate of fitness problems which have quite literally (in some cases) hamstrung Wenger’s squad. Reflecting on his role during these important weeks before the August kick-off head physiotherapist Colin Lewin also highlighted that everything is done to micro-manage the needs of individual players.
“If we feel an individual or two needs to be stronger then we get the strength and conditioners involved to make a decision.
“It’s all about individuals; that is why we have a screening day and have a good look through them from top to bottom to decide what they do and don’t need.”
Fingers crossed the coaching staff, medical team and players all get themselves into prime physical condition ahead of the first match of the season at Newcastle on August 13th.