In these perilous times, when everything seems to be crumbling, not only is there discontent amongst those who are in the house but those who have longed moved on now appear to regret ever coming.
Singed in 2001 as a 20 year old who was tipped as part of the prodigies of the England Golden generation, Francis Jeffers was every much as hot a property as every youngster in the country. He was to become one of the brightest stars of his generation after making a flying start at Everton but a mega money move to Highbury seemed to be the wrong move for the youngster managing just eight goals in 2 seasons. Now 33, Jeffers believes he should have stayed put at Goodison, as he was even not physically ready for the challenge, let alone the psychological aspect.
“I hadn’t quite got over my ankle when I went there” Jeffers said.
“The season before I went to Arsenal I had an ankle and a shoulder operation and played 14 games so I wasn’t at it anyway.”
“Staying at Everton would have been the best place for me. I would have had a lot more football. I went to Arsenal and it didn’t quite happen”
Jeffers would probably count himself as unlucky at the time as the Arsenal team was really studded with worldlies in attack in the persons of Bergkamp, Overmars, Henry, Pires and Wiltord. Considering it was the period of Wenger’s foreign revolution, it could also be that Jeffers credentials as being a young and untiried Englishman counted against him, though he holds no grudges for Wenger.
“Arsene Wenger gave me a fair crack of the whip. It would be hard to say he didn’t. He was good for me. I haven’t got a bad word to say about him. He tells you how it is and he is one of the only managers I played for who tells you how it is.”
This will come as some consolation to the bewildered Arsenal boss who has been spared no stick by other ex-Gunners, faulting his tactical and motivational approach to games. Wenger is no stranger to confrontation and has been embroiled in a heated war of words with Paul Merson over what appear to be unsettled scores stretching back nearly two decades.
Of urgent concern would be to carry out a quick glance through the Arsenal squad to see if there are any ones who would probably make the same statement as Jeffers when they leave. It’ll be useless to try to name names, though, as we should rather hope they are all enjoying their stay at the moment, knowing full well that rough patches are part of the professional game.
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