Wenger 'very hurt' at how things have ended at Arsenal, claims former assistant Rice

The Frenchman is set to step down after 22 years at the Gunners helm, with a legendary figure in north London having being forced to the exits.

ARSENE WENGER WILL be “very hurt” at how an iconic 22-year reign at Arsenal has come to an end, claims Gunners legend Pat Rice.

The long-serving Frenchman has announced that he will be stepping down once the current campaign comes to a close.

He will walk away as a three-time Premier League title winner and with seven FA Cup triumphs to his name, but also as the man who oversaw a humbling tumble out of top-four contention.

It is those struggles which have sparked supporter unrest and protests against his ongoing presence, with former assistant Rice disappointed at how the curtain is being brought down on a remarkable era for Arsenal.

He told Sky Sports: “I think he would feel very hurt about the reaction he was getting but at the end of the day we all know we are in a business where it can happen to anybody.

“It is not the first time it has happened to a football manager but when you think what he has done for our great club it is a shame that it had to end this way.

“I’m just hoping that for the last home game of the season [against Burnley] everybody shows their appreciation to a wonderful man and a tremendous manager.”

Wenger has branded the actions of certain supporters as “hurtful”, with a lack of unity in north London tarnishing an image that he worked so hard to build.

Rice is, however, of the opinion that he will step aside as an all-time great and as a figure who helped to change not only Arsenal for the better, but English football as a whole.

A man who spent 13 years with the Gunners as a player and another 28 in various coaching capacities added on Wenger: “In my eyes he is the best Arsenal manager there has ever been.

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“Having seen the way he works and the way he treats people, everybody is treated with respect. He always looked after his staff, he is just an incredible manager.

“Everything that he goes in to is researched. When he came to the club all the training schedules were down to the finest minute.

“He changed the food that the players had, he changed the way they were drinking. Cokes and orange and all that stuff went out of the window.

“The foresight that he had was just second to none and he changed the way of people’s thinking about football in England, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.”

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