In an interview with Arsenal Player, the boss has explained how and why he knew ex-Arsenal star Robert Pires was a good player within minutes of his first training session.
Interestingly, Arsene Wenger can’t take all the credit for discovering the Frenchman’s potential so early on in his time with the Gunners.
The manager explained his method of spotting the good players is to team them up with his ‘very good‘ players in training, “You learn something straight away [in training]. If it’s an offensive player I always put them alongside very good players in the small matches when they arrive for their first training sessions. Then you see how much these players give them the ball.”
When Wenger played Pires along side Dennis Bergkamp, the boss noticed the Dutchman was constantly passing to him and eager to give him the ball, “When I signed Robert Pires, in the first small-sided training game, I put him in the same team as Dennis Bergkamp.
“After five minutes I knew how good he was because Bergkamp kept giving him the ball! So Bergkamp thought he was a good player, they linked up well together so then you know you have won the battle.”
The Arsenal manger went on to describe how although this isn’t his only method when picking players, it does help to bring out the player’s talent early on. He likes being able to allow players to ‘express themselves‘ right from the get-go, and spotting their strengths from the beginning can aid this.
“Of course you put them in conditions in training where you can see if other players think they are good. That’s always very important, because players want to be respected by the others in the dressing room.
“Also it’s important that they can be in an environment where they can express their talent, so you want to do that as early as you can in a training session.”