Wenger advised me to be a head coach instead of assistant, says Ljungberg

The former Arsenal star, who is currently in charge of the club’s Under-16 team, was advised by the Frenchman to take up a career in management

Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg says Arsene Wenger advised against the Swede taking up an assistant role, instead recommending that he becomes a head coach.

The former Gunners winger, who made 328 appearances for the club between 1998 and 2007, is currently Arsenal Under-16s manager as he looks to gain his coaching licence in a similar way to the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

“In the future you hope to be a manager but I’ve got to my earn my stripes first,” Ljungberg told Goal after Saturday’s charity game at the Emirates Stadium for The Arsenal Foundation.

“Arsene advised me to do that and be a head coach, not assistant anywhere, because then you have your own staff and you have to look at the management of staff and it’s not so simple as doing a training session. I’m trying to learn on all levels and earn my stripes when I get a chance.”

Ljungberg also revealed that he thinks Jack Wilshere’s loan move to Bournemouth could be the catalyst to him becoming a regular starter for Arsenal next season – but it all depends on if he is able to stay free of injury.

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“I think everyone knows Jack’s an amazing player”, said Ljungberg.

“I love him but if he could play 38 games for Bournemouth then he’d be back here playing and starting again. I just think he’s had bad luck. He’d play well for six, seven games then he gets injured again and it’s a vicious circle. If he can play 38 games then he’ll be back and starting again.”

38-year-old Ljungberg retired from football in 2012 but looked impressive in spells against Milan Glorie on Saturday, providing an assist for Robert Pires as Arsenal ran out 4-2 winners.

And the ex-Sweden international, who believes Wenger’s legacy at the club cannot be argued with, admits that he thinks the Frenchman’s achievements ‘sometimes get forgotten’.

“I think he’s immense. He turned the club around if you look at the way we play football now, before they were saying ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ all the time and then we were winning 3, 4 nil.

“It’s important to think about when we built the new stadium here we had no money here really and we managed to stay in the Champions League. Sometimes I think that gets forgotten.”

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