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Graham Potter says he’d be ‘foolish’ not to pick Arsene Wenger’s brain

UK Sport | Published:

The Ostersund boss goes head to head with Wenger in the Europa League round of 32.

Graham Potter insists he would be a “fool” not to try and pick the brain of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger over the next week.

The Gunners travel to face Swedish side Ostersund on Thursday with the hosts looking to continue their fairytale story which has seen them go from fourth-tier minnows to the surprise package of this season’s Europa League.

Potter took charge of the club, formed a month after Arsene Wenger was appointed Arsenal boss in 1996, seven years ago and has not looked back.

Under the tutelage of the former West Brom and Southampton defender, the club has risen from the fourth division to the Allsvenskan and last April won the Svenska Cupen – their first ever major trophy.

His journey can be compared to that of Wenger, who went off to manage in Japan after spells at Monaco and Nancy, before taking his post at Arsenal.

Since then he has won the Premier League three times and lifted a record seven FA Cups – with Potter admitting he would like to learn as much as he can from the Frenchman.

“I would love to, of course,” he replied when asked if he will be looking to pick Wenger’s brain.

“I would be a fool not to. The experiences he has had and the things he has achieved, he is an inspiration so it would be foolish of me not to, if he would be so kind.”

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Wenger has started to come under criticism once more as Arsenal’s push for a return to the Premier League top-four, and Champions League qualification, falters.

The Gunners are now eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea following defeat to Tottenham in Saturday’s north London derby, but Potter only sees Wenger as an inspiration.

“It is not an easy profession and after doing it at a low level for a number of years you realise that it is a challenge, being able to sustain that for so long,” he said.

“So the ones who have done it for so long I have the utmost respect for. I think it (criticism) is part of the game, part of the noise around football.

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“It is not for me to tell Arsenal supporters what they can and can’t do and think and feel because they have every right.

“We all go into the profession knowing that is what it is, all I know is that from my perspective, I think we will look back on him and how he influenced English football and we will understand (his impact) a bit more in the future.

“When you talk about on a human level, to be able to stay at the top, to deal with the scrutiny, the setback, the pressure, the defeats, the criticism and still operate at the highest level, I have the utmost respect for him. He’s an inspiration for me.”

Potter’s success has seen him linked with managerial posts in England but he insists he is happy in Sweden where he is part of what he deems to be a special project.

“It is not something I consider. I don’t wake up every day and think ‘how can I get back to the UK?’,” he added.

“Maybe people just don’t understand as much about what we’ve gone through to get to this point.

“You can get jobs in football but what we have here, we have made a difference, we have a feeling of pride. Their is a connection between the club and the supporters.

“All the things that I think everybody should want to have as a job in football, we have here – a supportive chairman, support of the players, support of the people in the town.”

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