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US boss Klinsmann recalls when Arsene Wenger benched Djorkaeff

Juergen Klinsmann recently recalled when his former manager Arsene Wenger benched one of the sides best players during their days at AS Monaco.

Wenger took the reins at the French club in 1987, three years before eventual World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff joined the club from Strasbourg.

Touted as the next big thing in French football, the attacking maestro was benched on occasions by Wenger after Klinsmann arrived at Monaco in 1992 and the USA national team boss has explained why the Arsenal boss treated Djorkaeff, who ended his career with New York Red Bull in 2006, the way he did.

"I admired Arsene because he was incredibly detailed without ever losing sight of the long-term picture. He understands the path of young players, sees where they could be in two or three years, and has the patience to stand up for them," Klinsmann said in an interview with ESPN's Soccernet.

"I was pretty well-moulded especially in comparison to the rest of the squad, which was mainly young, full of a lot of players who thought they owned the world.

"Because of my seniority, I was the only player who had direct communication with Arsene and I told him that if we wanted to win, we needed this kid as we did not have a deep squad."

Wenger told Klinsmann, then 28, that he benched Djorkaeff because he simply did not do the job he was asked.

"He told me Youri needed to learn what it meant to 'become a 24/7 pro,'" he added.

"I really liked Djorkaeff, but as the games went by, I watched and saw how he got Arsene's message. It took weeks and weeks, but when he broke through, there was no looking back. Ultimately we made it to the semi-final of the Champions League and Youri ended up winning the World Cup."

"Arsene taught me a coach needs to lead these guys. They don't understand it all yet."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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