March 29, 2018 / 2:19 PM / 21 days ago

Soccer: Wenger's desire for success at Arsenal still strong - Bould

(Reuters) - Arsene Wenger’s appetite for success has not diminished and the Arsenal manager is doing a “great job” at the London club, his assistant Steve Bould has said.

Football Soccer - Premier League - Arsenal vs Leicester City - London, Britain - August 11, 2017. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and assistant Steve Bould. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

Bould, speaking in place of an ill Wenger ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game against Stoke City, said the 68-year-old was a great manager.

Wenger has faced criticism in recent seasons for the club’s failure to mount a serious title challenge.

Arsenal are set to finish their 14th straight season without winning the league title and Wenger said recently that calls for him to step down had grown in the past few years because of prejudice against older managers.

Asked if Wenger’s desire was as strong as ever, Bould said: “Absolutely, he is remarkable. Behind closed doors I’ve never met anybody who is as hungry and determined to win football games. It’s as big as I’ve ever seen.”

Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996 and has led the club to three league titles and seven FA Cup triumphs but has failed to win in Europe.

Arsenal are sixth in the league with 48 points from 30 matches. Their hopes of silverware lie in the Europa League where they face CSKA Moscow in the quarter-finals next week.

“He’s doing a great job as far as I’m concerned and he’s done a great job for an awful long time,” former Arsenal defender Bould added.

“I admire him immensely. He takes unbelievable stick off an awful lot people and he’s just one of the great managers. It’s a pleasure for me to sit next to him.”

Midfielder Jack Wilshere was training without any problem after missing England’s international friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy last week with a knee injury.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette is also back in full training after minor surgery on his left knee last month.

Relegation-threatened Stoke are second from bottom with 27 points from 31 games. They beat Arsenal 1-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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