Europe (UEFA)

'Sensational' Parlour saw cheeky request declined by Wenger after huge Inter Milan win

talksport.com, 23 September 2022, 09:54
Ray Parlour has revealed he was turned down by Arsene Wenger after he cheekily asked to replace Partick Vieira as Arsenal captain.

Parlour was handed the armband in the absence of the Frenchman for Arsenal's famous 5-1 Champions League victory against Inter Milan at the San Siro in 2003.

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Arsenal were leading 2-1 going into the last five minutes of the game when Thierry Henry, Edu and Robert Pires all struck to hand the Gunners an incredible 5-1 group stage victory.

Parlour is believed to have delivered a hugely-motivational pre-match team talk which Pires still speaks highly of today, describing it as 'sensational.'

Parlour's exploits that night led him to making a very cheeky request.

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He queried about getting the captaincy on a full-time basis in place of legendary France mdfielder Vieira.

"After the game, I said [to Wenger] 'boss I've got to have a word' - it all went quiet," Parlour told talkSPORT.

"I've got to be skipper going forward, don't worry about Patrick Vieira.

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"Wenger said, 'Ray, Patrick is our captain.'

"I said, okay boss no problem, I thought I'd ask the question anyway - the lads just started laughing."

Parlour's sense of humour did not appear to resonate with the legendary Arsenal manager in the same way it did with his team-mates, with Vieira quickly restored to the captaincy role upon his return.

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Parlour would not be drawn on the intricacies of his pre-match monologue but admitted he told his team-mates: "We can beat these Italians, let's believe in ourselves."

Arsenal went on to top their Champions League group ahead of Lokomotiv Moscow in second place but the Gunners were eventually stopped in their stride at the quarter-final stage, losing to Chelsea 3-2 on aggregate.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom that season for Parlour and co as they went on to win the Premier League title at a canter and were nicknamed the invincibles after finishing the entire league season unbeaten.

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