Wenger: Sanchez is Chile’s version of Beckham
ARSENE Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez is as revered in Chile as David Beckham once was in England and insists the Arsenal striker will bounce back from his World Cup heartbreak.
Sanchez will miss out on the game’s greatest tournament next summer after a 3-0 defeat to Brazil left Chile sixth in South America’s qualifying group.
The result is a crushing blow for Chile, who won many admirers en route to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup and brought Sanchez to the attention of many outside his native country.
Wenger likened the pressure on his star player to the hype that used to surround Beckham, who became England’s villain for his red card at the 1998 World Cup before going on to lead the national team as captain.
“I would say you have in every generation a player who carries the pressure of expectation of a nation,” Wenger said.
“In France it was Zinedine Zidane. In England it was Beckham.
We had other players in the team but it was Beckham.
“Why not Steven Gerrard? I don’t know. But it was Beckham.
“In Chile it’s Sanchez. In Argentina of course it’s Lionel Messi.
“It looks like that there is somebody there in a national team who has to carry the pressure and absorb it and protect a little the rest of the team.”
Sanchez was not due to arrive back in London until yesterday afternoon and it remains to be seen whether the forward is physically, and mentally, ready to faceWatford tomorrow after the disappointment ofmissing out on a place in Russia.