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Wenger expected Mannone to leave

By Football News



Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says reserve goalkeeper Vito Mannone was free to leave the club in the summer.

Mannone was sent on loan to Championship side Hull City last season and, despite impressing at the KC Stadium, Wenger did not appear to see a future at the Emirates for the former Atalanta trainee.

But injuries to Wojciech Szczesny and number-two goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski have thrust Mannone into the first team this season.

The Italian has responded with some impressive form, conceding just two goals in four games played.

"He always believed in himself and was ready to show me that but he had no real opportunity to play," Wenger said.

"Szczesny has the number one shirt and it is up to the others to win it. He has not lost it but there is competition now.

"When I sent Mannone to Hull, I watched him every single game and all the reports I had were very positive. I was quite surprised no club went for him because I would have let him go."

Mannone's assured displays so far have eased Wenger's goalkeeping issues, and the Frenchman is glad to have several options in that area of the pitch.

"The goalies need competition but also confidence," he said.

"It is a special position where, if you are challenged every time, if you change every time, you cannot be good.

"If Gianluigi Buffon makes a mistake he knows he will play for Juventus the next game and if Joe Hart makes a mistake he knows he will play for Manchester City the next game.

"That's important, but if, over a period of time, their standards drop, and somebody comes in, that's different."

Arsenal's next match is at home to Chelsea in the English Premier League on Saturday.