Paul Merson has claimed Harry Redknapp was a better tactical manager than Arsene Wenger after playing under both legendary managers.
Wenger guided Arsenal to their most successful era and is widely regarded as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever managers.
But Redknapp also enjoyed success at a host of clubs including taking Portsmouth to promotion and FA Cup glory as well as being named Premier League Manager of the Season in 2009/10 after guiding Tottenham to the Champions League.
Merson played a crucial role in Redknapp’s title-winning Portsmouth side in 2002/03, five years after departing Arsenal where he played in Wenger’s early days.
And after working under the pair, Merson reckons Redknapp not only possessed unmatchable man-management skills but tactical nous for which he does not receive enough credit.
“One hundred per cent, best man-manager I’ve ever worked under, by a million miles,” Merson told Sky Sports of Redknapp.
“As a man-manager knowing what you want or what you need, you could tell him what you need, he wouldn’t tell you what you needed. I think that was a massive thing with him.
“The thing with Harry, people think, ‘Oh, he’s a wheeler-dealer’… his knowledge of football is second to none.
“I honestly think he’s tactically better than Arsene Wenger, in my opinion. I worked under both.
“Tactically, if I know a manager who wants to set up, make sure we don’t lose a game and stop the other team playing… for me, Harry is the man.
“He’s with George Graham, that sort of [level]. Arsene Wenger, he had some unbelievable players.
“When you’ve got Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, [Robert] Pires, [Patrick] Vieira, [Emmanuel] Petit, [Marc] Overmars and [Freddie] Ljungberg… if I’m the manager of Arsenal, I’m opening the football match up!
“I want the game to expand, to go end-to-end because if it does, there’s only one winner. That’s Arsenal because of the players I just reeled off.
“But when you’ve got a manager who hasn’t got that quality of player and you’ve got to set up, that’s why I think Harry is a phenomenal manager.
“He put a team together, he pulled players into certain positions and it clicked. I played in a phenomenal football team.”
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