Former professional footballer turned Sky Sports pundit, Paul Merson, has made a surprising admission when discussing the best man manager that he played under during his career.
Despite his well publicised off-field troubles, Merson enjoyed a stellar playing career in England, firstly at Arsenal, before stints at Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth and a handful of lower division clubs.
Given that he was with the Gunners at the beginning of the Arsene Wenger era, despite being sold by the Frenchman, the expectation might have been that Merson would choose the man who undoubtedly changed the face of English football.
However, Wenger was overlooked in place of Harry Redknapp, whom Merson worked under at Portsmouth.
“As a man manager, knowing what you want, or what you need, you could tell him what you need. That was a massive thing for me.
“The thing that I get the hump with with Harry is when people say ‘he’s a wheeler and dealer’. His knowledge of football is second to none – tactically he’s better than Arsene Wenger in my opinion.
“I’ve worked under both. Tactically, if I know a manager who wants to set up to not lose a game and stop the other team playing, for me Harry’s the man.”
Although Merson might be derided for his comments, given that Wenger has often taken the plaudits for his nous and way of seeing the game, it’s clear that there is more than one way to win a football match.
Lest we forget too, that at one stage Redknapp was being considered for the England job, so his credentials shouldn’t really have been in question, despite the ‘crafty cockney’ exterior.