Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted the thought of retirement makes him panic. The 65-year-old says he is more committed to the job than ever ahead of his 20th year in charge of the Gunners.
Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after 27 years in charge of Manchester United, but Wenger has no plans of following the path of his old foe into a life away from the game.
“Retirement? Yes, it crosses my mind sometimes but for no longer than five seconds because I panic a little bit,” said Wenger.
“When we played at Man United, he (Ferguson) came to meet me after the game. I said: ‘Come on, you don’t miss it?’ He says: ‘No.’ He had enough. He goes to every game. But he has (race) horses. I have no horses.
“Enthusiasm? That is not a problem, honestly. I am more committed than ever for that. I just think the number of times you have done it doesn’t count. It is how much you love what you do that counts.
“And the love of what you do is not necessarily diminished by the number of times you’ve done it. Football is new every day. That’s a big quality. It makes you question.
“Because with every defeat people say: ‘What is this guy doing?’ Every three days you are questioned. You have an exam every three days. You have no way to look back. You have to prepare for the next exam and come out of it with success. So it always demands 100 per cent commitment.”
Wenger’s commitment was tested last season when, after a 3-2 defeat at Stoke, he was verbally abused by a section of his club’s supporters as he boarded a train for home.
Experience, he says, cannot prepare him for moments like that.
“I have big experience and experience helps you anticipate what you will face. I did not necessarily anticipate that. Even here there are unpredictable responses,” he said.
“You would not necessarily expect people to insult you on the way to the train. It’s the way society has gone and you have to go with it. You can take it or not. I can, as well, take a distance from that.
“I know the same people can be excessive on one side and the other side. That’s where experience helps. You have a good assessment of who you are. And you’re not influenced by what people say, whether that’s on one side too positive and on the other side too negative.”