Arsene Wenger believes it is “sad” that his former Arsenal captain Tony Adams has criticised him in his new autobiography.
The Gunners boss has come in for stinging condemnation from a host of his ex-players following a poor season.
Arsenal were in the title race until the turn of the year when a dreadful run of form saw them drop off the pace to such an extent that even a win against Everton on Sunday may not guarantee a top-four finish.
As well as a number of vocal fans protesting for Wenger to leave this summer rather than sign a fresh deal when his current one expires, ex-players such as Ian Wright, Paul Merson, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and Thierry Henry have spoken disapprovingly about their former boss.
Now Adams has added his name to that list after the current Granada boss questioned Wenger’s coaching ability in his forthcoming autobiography.
Speaking in his autobiography “Sober”, serialised in the Sun, he said: “Arsene is essentially not a coach — and that is the second reason why I believe he didn’t want me. Back in the day I said in an interview coaching wasn’t Arsene’s strong point.
“Actually in the original draft, I said he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. And though I modified that in the final article, it didn’t go down well. It all left me feeling that I would never get a chance in any capacity while Arsene was there.
“Much as I respected him for his long and successful tenure, my occasional willingness to pass comment on him and the team probably counted against me.”
Wenger, who had Adams working at Arsenal in the youth set-up for a short spell last year, said the remarks did not cause him pain and said he would rather focus his energies elsewhere.
Asked if he had been hurt by Adams, he said: “No. He can show what he can do now. Who gives importance to that? I know him for a long time. It’s sad.
“I am respectful to everybody. I don’t have anything to say about that. For me it’s a subject of no interest. And so I would like to dedicate my time to something that is more interesting.”
Adams won four league titles and three FA Cups during a 19-year career at Arsenal but has struggled since trying to make it as a manager.
And Wenger insists just because a player forged a career at Arsenal does not mean the club owe them a coaching role after retirement.
“Look, in a football club today, you have to employ people who can help you to be successful. Sometimes it is to make harsh decisions,” he said.
“You have to be needed. And like you have made a career as a player somewhere, it doesn’t give you any divine right to come back. That’s what it is.”