Gerrard eager to end Dubai interview and watch FA Cup

Sport360 staff 19/02/2017
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The Kop king, who is now involved with the club’s academy, was speaking after meetings fans at an Adidas event at the Mall of Emirates in Dubai on Sunday.

“It depends how long this interview, how long you keep me for,” was Gerrard’s response when asked if he’d take in any of Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup action.

Read more on Gerrard’s latest visit to the UAE.

Did you meet the Liverpool idol on Sunday?


Thank you to all the fans who came down today and @adidasmena for the experience! #NeverFollow

A post shared by Steven Gerrard (@stevengerrard) on








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Steven Gerrard greets fans in UAE

Sport360 staff 19/02/2017
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Steven Gerrard signs an autograph.

Former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai on Sunday for the opening of an adidas store.

Hundreds of fans visited the store to catch a glimpse of the Anfield legend on UAE soil. The recently appointed Liverpool Academy coach also took time to speak with budding young football stars, sign autographs and take pictures with the fans.

Speaking at the event, Steven Gerrard expressed his affection for Dubai and its young fans.

“I love Dubai, it’s one of my favourite destinations. Every time I come here I always bump into Liverpool fans, so it’s been great to spend some time with them. I think the region overall is doing a great job in growing football and I will give the same message I give to kids all over the world – just keep practicing and work as hard as you can, because you get out of this game what you put in.”

While in the adidas store, Gerrard spoke about how important boots are as well.

“When I was very young, I wore adidas World Cups and Copa Mundials. They are classics and still around today, which shows how consistent and good the boots are. Then I moved into Predator once I signed with adidas. I trust Predator, I believe in them, I wore them probably 17 years. Every single year adidas surprise me – they make the boot lighter and more comfortable. I have a fantastic relationship with this brand and I hope it will continue.”

Posing for a picture with a fan: Steven Gerrard

Posing for a picture with a fan: Steven Gerrard

The midfield icon also showed his support for the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022.

“I’ve got every confidence that Qatar will put on a great event, you can feel the passion and excitement every time you come to the region. Everyone is football crazy. Good luck to them and I hope they put a good show on.”

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Wenger’s tried every avenue but Arsenal need new direction

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Arsene Wenger.

Boy, has Arsene Wenger tried. When he was derided for relying on foreign imports who subsequently left the club once they were approaching their peaks, he started investing in British talent like Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck.

When he was vilified for not utilising Arsenal’s academy for nothing more than the odd League Cup appearance, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi were introduced into the first team.

When he was demonised for his frugality in the transfer market, he broke the club transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil and spent further tens of millions of pounds on Alexis Sanchez.

When the calls for an experienced and reliable goalkeeper grew to a din, in came Petr Cech on a free transfer; as pleas for a defensive midfielder intensified, Granit Xhaka was added; and that dominating centre-back partner for Laurent Koscielny dropped last summer with Shkodran Mustafi.

Wenger changed his tried-and-trusted playing style, moving away from the pretty, pass-heavy architecture of previous sides, to a more transitional and direct approach. He even got rid of that quilted coat.

And yet, here we are, once again – it’s February and Arsenal are too far off the top of the Premier League to contend for the title, on the brink of elimination from the Champions League and only have the FA Cup as compensation.

Wenger has attempted to evolve but it seems the more he’s softened his ethical stance, the harder it’s got for him to succeed.

A continual accusation is they are a team lacking leadership but Wenger has bought captains – David Ospina, Mustafi, Xhaka, Sanchez and Cech have all performed the role at previous clubs and their national teams – however, still Arsenal play with such passivity.

The 5-1 shellacking in Munich on Wednesday didn’t necessarily have an end-of-days feel about it because we seem to have been here so many times before.

But whereas that could be offset by the need for the missing piece of the puzzle, or falling back towards the sanctuary of “In Arsene We Trust”, all the cards have been played.

And as fans have remarked, “Wenger Out” chants were heard around the Allianz Arena but, for once, there was no opposition.

For the first time in his Arsenal career, Wenger is a manager without a coherent plan or identity. As sad as that is to reconcile with, assuming (and it probably now goes beyond assumption) Wenger is leaving, the Arsenal board must ensure a succession plan is put in place that does not mimic that of Manchester United in 2013.

Wenger cannot be allowed choose his heir, but at the same time they need a manager similarly strong-willed to cope with the sheer magnitude of the job at hand but once who can completely disconnect with the past.

Arsenal need a coach to build a club and team from top to bottom: a Simeone, a Tuchel, a Jardim, a Schmidt; managers of character and principle but also who can energise and enthuse.

The club needs a fresh pair of eyes because Wenger has exhausted every possibility and, for all his faults in what appears the latter stage of his career in north London, you can’t say he didn’t try.

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