Arsene Wenger backs Italian to impress

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has backed Vito Mannone to impress against Montpellier in the Champions League on Tuesday and feels the stopper is close to becoming the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

The back-up man is standing in for injured Wojciech Szczesny, and the French coach is confident that Mannone has the ability to do well against the Ligue 1 outfit.

“Vito is very close to the Arsenal number one jersey, and he gets another opportunity now,” Wenger told reporters, published in Sky Sports.

“He has belief and he has the mental strength to deal with that.”

Wenger has hailed Montpellier after their shock title in 2011-12, and feels that his side are in for a tough test on Tuesday.

“What they did [last season] is a miracle because I think three years ago they were in the second division and one point away from relegation to division three.

“It is difficult to know why they have not started well this season. Maybe because they were champions and now they are the team to beat.

“People have maybe a little less urgency and everybody is a bit more cautious against them,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight