Wenger: Sanchez is Chile’s ver­sion of Beck­ham

Evening Telegraph (Late Extra Edition) - - SPORTS -

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.

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