Soccer

Redknapp is 'tactically' better than Wenger, according to Merson

Harry Redknapp is ‘tactically’ better than Arsene Wenger, according to Paul Merson as he hails former Tottenham and Portsmouth boss the ‘best man-manager’ he’s played for

  • Paul Merson played under Arsene Wenger for less than a season in 1996-97 
  • Harry Redknapp also managed the former defender while at Portsmouth 
  • Merson believes Redknapp is better tactically than the legendary Frenchman 
  • The two coaches regularly faced off, most notably with Arsenal and Tottenham 

Paul Merson believes Harry Redknapp was a better tactical manager than Arsene Wenger, having worked with both coaches during his playing career.

Former Arsenal boss Wenger worked with Merson for less than a single season in his debut season at the club in 1996-97.

Six years down the line, Merson also spent a solitary year under Redknapp at Portsmouth and after winning promotion to the Premier League that season, Merson told Sky Sports’ Off Script show that Redknapp left the greater mark on him. 

Paul Merson believes Harry Redknapp (right) was better tactically than Arsene Wenger (left)

The two managers faced off over a number of years, most memorably at Arsenal and Spurs

Yet ex-Arsenal and Portsmouth defender Merson believes Redknapp left the bigger mark

When asked if former Tottenham boss Redknapp’s coaching style was focused on man-management, Merson replied: ‘100 per cent, best man-manager I’ve worked under by a million miles. 

‘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.’

Merson was sold by Wenger to Middlesbrough in the summer of 1997 after 12 years at the club. 

Later in his career, the 2002-03 season, he was instrumental in a Portsmouth side under Redknapp which was promoted to the Premier League  – though he then moved on to Walsall.  

Merson spent numerous successful years at Arsenal but did not work under Wenger for long

‘Arsene went out and he had unbelievable players, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Pires, Vieira, Petit, Overmans,’ Merson continued. ‘If I’m the manager of Arsenal with those players, I’m opening the football match up. 

‘Open it up, I want the game to expand and go end to end and there’s only one real winner and that’s Arsenal, because of the players they had. 

‘But when you’ve got to be a manager which hasn’t got that quality of player, you’ve got to set up and that’s why Harry’s a phenomenal manager – he put a team together. It clicked. I played with a phenomenal Championship team.’ 

Merson lifts the Division One trophy after gaining promotion with Portsmouth in 2002-03




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