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Wilson backs Wenger for international role

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson expects to see Arsene Wenger accept an international coaching role after announcing his decision to leave the Gunners.

It was revealed on Friday Wenger has opted to stand down at the end of the season, bringing his extraordinary tenure to a close after 22 years in charge of the north London side.

Speaking to Omnisport, Wilson - who worked with Wenger as Arsenal's goalkeeping coach - suggested the boss may have decided to walk away from Emirates Stadium rather than find himself forced out by the club's hierarchy. 

"I think possibly what has happened is that there might already be knowledge of who is going to take over," he said.

"I do not see Arsene being the one who came and said 'I have suddenly decided that it is enough', when you have got the semi-final of a Europa League coming up. 

"We could win against the odds in the semi-final [against Atletico Madrid], go to the final and do what Manchester United did last year and make an entry, dramatically, into the Champions League via the Europa League. 

"Most people think Arsene is going to retire. I do not see him, even in his mid-60s, giving up on the game. 

"I have a feeling we are going to see him as a manager of an international side and his biggest fan will be me, saying 'come on, get France back into being a decent side, Arsene!'"

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Wenger still had one season remaining on the two-year contract extension he signed in May 2017, and Wilson is disappointed at the vitriol that has been directed at the Frenchman late in a reign that has delivered three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.

"In one way it is sad, in the other I am relieved because of all that, almost, hatred that has come from some of the fans which is really shocking to see; the disrespect, I do not like disrespect in any shape or form," he said.

"People should be able to have their say. But the disrespect for somebody who has given so much to the game in this country...

"We should all be thanking Arsene now. The FA should be thanking him, everybody should be thanking him for what he brought and the way that he brought the change."