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West Brom boss Mowbray: Arsenal's Wenger transformed English football

Ahead of facing Arsenal this weekend, West Brom boss Tony Mowbray hailed Arsene Wenger as an inspiration.

"Arsene Wenger has raised the bar in terms of management and in terms of the studiousness and the science of the game," Mowbray told the Birmingham Mail.

"Everybody else has had to be more professional, more organised and the search for knowledge has been greater since the arrival of Arsene Wenger. The days of Mike Bassett, England manager - writing your team on the back of a fag packet - are a thing of the past.

"That is a stereotypical manager of the 60s or 70s, although I don't know for certain because I wasn't around. Arsene Wenger is the total opposite to that. He is very studious, very thoughtful and very clever man."

The Wenger influence has worked its way into Mowbray's mindset. The Baggies may lack the household names of their north London giants, but they have adopted a similar style of play.

Mowbray added: "His football teams should be an inspiration to people who want their teams to entertain.

"Ultimately he has won in style. Teams like Arsenal are always open to criticism if they don't win anything, as happened last season. But from my perspective, as a football fan, they are still a joy to watch and in my eyes he is up there in terms of changing the face of English football over the last 20 years by creating teams that are a joy to watch.

"George Graham won the championship but Wenger has put Arsenal at the top end of the Premier League every year. And the perception I have is that he hasn't spent anywhere near the money of a Manchester United or a Chelsea might have done.

"He seems to have everything 'boxed off', like his scouting system and his greater vision of where the club are going. He has gone down that route of setting up scouting systems in west Africa, brought young players into Europe and put them into his team.

"He is a visionary. Those players didn't cost £20million or £30million and yet play in a team who finish in the top four and compete to win the Premier League every year."

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