As Arsenal prepare to take on Paris Saint-Germain and Atlético Madrid in the ICC (International Champions Cup) here in Singapore, Goal Singapore scored an exclusive interview with Gunners legend Ray Parlour, to get his insights on Arsenal under new manager Unai Emery.
It goes without saying that any manager who comes into Arsenal will have Arsene Wenger’s shadow looming over him. Some fans feel that for Unai Emery, that weight of expectation caused by the success Wenger brought to the club can have an effect on the Spaniard but Parlour thinks otherwise.
“Emery is his own man. He will do exactly what he has done at other clubs, and have his own philosophy laid out to the lads,” explained Parlour.
“All I can say is that there’s a jolly mood around the team and everyone’s adapted to what he wants from the team. And I think the lads are enjoying it so let’s wait and see.”
Significantly the Spaniard has made a number of signings for the North London club and we questioned the ‘The Romford Pelé’, over which he feels is the most crucial.
“I think it’s (Lucas) Torreira. He is mobile and energetic and maybe Arsenal has missed that in midfield especially that steel and mobility.”
Next, as the ICC has grown over the years so has its importance in preparing teams for the pre-season.
“It is a very good tournament as there’s quality teams. There’s also an opportunity for the club to travel and connect with the fans globally.”
“Previously we only played pre-season in Europe but now we can get to meet fans from different continents and it’s crucial for Arsenal, to grow its fan base.”
Three Premier League titles and a whole host of other accolades were acquired during his time in North London yet for the 45-year old, another memory ranks as the greatest during his time with Arsenal.
“Captaining my boyhood club to a 5-1 win over Inter was the best moment I cherished at Arsenal. I didn’t want to take my armband off.”
“They beat us 3-0 at Highbury so we weren’t confident entering the second leg. Also we were missing key players but it turned out alright for us.”
“That Inter squad was amazing but we had some great players too. To win in the San Siro and the Italians giving us a standing ovation. That will always be with me as a player.”
From the San Siro to Tony Adams and given Adams’ application a few months back to become the head coach of the Singapore national team, we quizzed Parlour on what was his opinion on his former captain’s application.
“Well obviously Tony wants another crack at management. He was a top player.”
“You can say maybe his coaching record hasn’t been spectacular but if they do appoint Tony, he will do his best with the lads he has in front of him.”
Lastly Parlour had a message for all Arsenal fans here in Singapore.
“Keep supporting. We are really honoured to be here in your great country.”
“Hopefully you guys will turn up in force for the upcoming games and the players really appreciate your support. Although we may be a long way away in London but we always think of our supporters around the world.”