Pat Rice joined the Gunners as a player in 1964, going on to make 528 appearances for the club, winning the ‘Double’ in 1970-71 and captaining them to FA Cup glory in 1979. However is his time at the Emirates coming to an end? Would Arsene Wenger and Arsenal really be better off if he was to change his assistant every couple of seasons. There is a lot to be said about continuity but is it time for Wenger to relive Pat Rice of his duties. I am not saying for one minute he is not up for the job anymore but bringing a new direction could help Arsene Wenger.
A new assistant would bring a new focus and direction to Arsenal. If Wenger was more open to changing his methods, Arsenal may benefit from a change. A new assistant may bring new ideas on the importance of strong compact defending, something that Arsenal’s defence need. If Wenger was to bring in somebody like Tony Adams, Steve Bould or Martin Keown there would be a greater focus on defending and without a doubt the squad would improve. Improvements need to be made if your club hasn’t wont a trophy in the last five seasons. Does Pat Rice have the ability to change his methods to help Arsenal anymore? It seems not and Wenger needs to have a change in approach.
As well as this Wenger might learn something himself. The assistants that Sir Alex Ferguson has had over the years, like Knox, Kidd, McClaren and Queiroz have all brought a different approach to the game. For example, Carlos Queiroz brought a more tactical approach to Manchester United’s play which has allowed them to compete on a more consistent basis in Europe. Arsenal has had one vision for the past decade and something has to give. Have Arsenal become too comfortable in their training methods over recent years. Arsenal players have great technical abilities but are they tactically naïve? A new assistant could change the mind set of some of the younger players coming through at the Emirates.
Pat Rice has done a great job at Arsenal but it has to be time for change. Reports suggest that Pat Rice could be retiring at the end of the season anyway, but Wenger should look to bring in assistants on shorter term deals. There can be no doubt that continuity is important but maybe Arsenal, including Arsene Wenger have become too comfortable. A new assistant may bring in a new vision which not only could benefit Arsenal but Wenger himself. No manager is ever complete and learning new methods will only benefit the high standards at the Emirates.
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