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Former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash has slammed his favourite football club Arsenal following, calling for “leaders” in the squad to emerge.
The Gunners have suffered a terrible start to the 2021/22 Premier League, having lost all three of their games, conceded nine goals and scored none.
This comes despite spending more than £100m on new players including £50m defender Ben White and former Real Madrid star Martin Odegaard,
And Ramprakash, who spent 11 years representing the country at international level and player for the Gunners’ Ex-Pros & Celebrity side, has been left furious.
Speaking toCompare.bet, the 51-year-old said: “I think it’s really disappointing as a fan when you see the same mistakes year in year, year out. And that’s what we’re seeing, you know. You could literally drive a bus down the middle of the pitch and not get tackled.
“Then there was the reckless challenge from Xhaka – yet another sending off in his Arsenal career.
“I look at that dressing room and think ‘Where are the leaders?’ I compare it to cricket: I was very lucky to join an Essex dressing room with a lot of great players, a lot of senior role models, and as a young player that was fantastic for me.
“I knew that when the pressure was on we had some senior boys around the room who would take it on.
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“But I look at Arsenal and I don’t know who’s leading that dressing room at the moment. I’ve got no idea.
“And if Xhaka is supposedly a senior player and he’s doing that it’s just… it’s no good to anybody.”
Ramprakash suggested there was also a mentality issue with the Gunners, adding: “It seems to be systemic in the club. It would seem to be that, although he’s moved on some players, it seems to be systemic within the club that there is an attitude.
“Last year I think it happened by accident that some senior players weren’t available, so he put on [Bukayo] Saka, [Emile] Smith-Rowe, and [Gabriel] Martinelli, and all of a sudden, bam!
“There was a difference, a no-fear attitude, and they went for it. There was an energy to it.
“This high-intensity football; I thought that’s what Arteta was about.
“We saw some of that when the youngsters came on. I think if you’ve spent that kind of money in the transfer window you have to back the manager, because otherwise what’s the point?
“You sack a manager ten matches in, and where are you then? I guess, having spent all that money, you have to give him the season.”
But the ex-England cricketer also sent a warning to manager Mikel Arteta, who has seen his position come under threat.
Ramprakash continued: “Where is the progression? There’s only one team that can win the league, you can accept losing to a degree, but it’s the progression.
“The money spent, you move to a new stadium, the income from that, and then where is the progression?
“I think that’s where Arteta has got to start showing the team he’s moving forward.
“Hopefully that’s by winning matches, but can you go away from home and defend well? We’re not seeing enough of that.
“I also think he made a mistake as a manager because, when Xhaka walked off I think he patted him on the back or something. Along with the contract extension, I think for a lot of fans that sticks in the throat.
“You’ve got to be careful as a manager. Does that deserve a pat on the back? I know he wasn’t condoning it, but you have to outwardly portray to the fans and other players that it’s not acceptable.
“There has to be certain things you’re looking for from a team, like character, work rate… at the very least those are the things that you’re looking for, and we’re struggling to see that at the moment.”
- Arsenal FC
- England Cricket Team
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