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There's A Real Irony To Arsene Wenger's Advice To League Of Ireland Manager

There's A Real Irony To Arsene Wenger's Advice To League Of Ireland Manager
By PJ Browne Updated

More than a decade on from leaving Arsenal as a player, Stephen Bradley continues to have an association with the club. The 32-year-old, who was named Shamrock Rovers manager back in November, is Arsenal's Irish scout. Bradley was involved in the scouting of Granit Xhaka before Arsenal signed the Swiss international during the summer.

That enduring link with Arsenal led to Arsene Wenger, along with Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill, offering Bradley some advice.

Both advised Bradley that when he was signing players, he should prioritise character as a quality over raw ability on the pitch.

Quoted by the Irish Independent, Bradley disclosed the help he was received from Wenger and O'Neill.

That was my number one thing. When I spoke to Michael O'Neill and the boss at Arsenal, that was the number one thing they said to me about characters. Take a player with less ability and more character over the others.

It was number one for me when I sat down with Stephen McPhail (Shamrock Rovers Sporting Director) and said, 'How are we going to recruit?'

Most of the people that signed have been captains in other clubs. It's something we haven't had on the pitch and now we have five or six that are leaders and have been captains at other clubs. Straight away, that takes us to another level.

Given Arsenal's shortcomings in recent years, mainly a perceived lack of backbone and leaders within Wenger's squad, there is certainly a hint of irony about his advice to Bradley. It may be advice which Wenger should also heed.

Bradley was a player at Shamrock Rovers when Michael O'Neill was manager. In fact, O'Neill signed him. The two continue to be close, with O'Neill regularly messaging Bradley.

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I speak to Michael (O'Neill) regularly. Michael's been brilliant in terms of his advice and comments on where he thinks we are, the players we've signed - he gives me a bit of shit over one or two of them but that's Michael.

No, he's been really good and character was definitely the big thing for him.

I asked him what he thought when he walked into the Rovers dressing room and why he signed me, why he signed other players and his big thing was characters that could come here and play.

And you know when they're not in the team that they're still going to be with you. He said that's more important than having a good player who is going to whinge and moan.

See Also: Daryl Horgan Explains One Big Difference To His Routine Since Moving To Preston

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