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‘Freddie can be Arsenal’s special one’

Gunners striker Aubameyang backs interim head coach

05 December, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Arsenal’s club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

FREDDIE Ljungberg will bring “something special” to the Gunners, according to club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Swede was handed the role of interim head coach after Unai Emery’s dismissal last week.

The excitement of “an Arsenal man” taking charge was short-lived, however, as Ljungberg brought Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka back in from the cold for his first match – two players most supporters deem not good enough to play for the club.

The team news was compounded by the north Londoners putting in another sub-standard performance in a 2-2 draw at Norwich.

But Aubameyang is confident that, given a little time, Ljungberg’s “heart” will bring the best out of the players.

He said: “Everybody is respectful of Freddie. He played for Arsenal, he knows as a player how we feel. It’s interesting to have him.

“For me personally I think it’s good for us. He played for Arsenal and he has this in his heart.

“He can give us something special. He was part of the Invincibles – his career speaks for itself. We will try to follow him and give the best for him.”

If Ljungberg does find himself struggling on the sidelines there is another ghost of Christmas past, so to speak, that he can turn to. Arsene Wenger says he would be “happy” to speak to his former midfielder should he need any advice.

“If he has that need, then of course I will be available,” said the Frenchman, who left Arsenal in 2018 after 22 years as manager.

“I’m always happy to help my former players and my former club.

“My heart is with the club and I want them to do well. Freddie is fantastically committed. He wanted this job for a long time. He has an opportunity. Let’s get him to work with his ideas and support him.”

Ljungberg, who played under Wenger for eight years, winning two league titles, has admitted that a chat with his former gaffer is on his to-do list. He said: “I really would like to speak to him [Wenger]. I haven’t spoken to him yet, it’s been a bit hectic, but that’s on my list.”

Ljungberg also says he is planning on getting advice from compatriot and former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

“Sven is very intelligent. I spoke to him a lot when he was manager of England because he was normally watching our games,” the 42-year-old added. “I’ve seen stories in the past about how he treated players and made them feel good, so I’ve stolen a few of those ideas. He’s a great coach and I hope I’ll speak to him soon.”

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