Norway manager Stale Solbakken fears ’s bizarre comments over Germany’s protest are a consequence of the Arsenal legend having been ‘brainwashed’ by .
The Frenchman has been working for the world’s governing body since his departure from Arsenal in 2018.
Wenger has been regularly linked with a return to management but appears ensconced in his role as global head of development.
The 73-year-old was forced to climb down on his proposed idea of biennial World Cup earlier this month and also courted controversy by suggesting that Germany’s hopes of progressing in were undermined by the political protest they made prior to their defeat against Japan.
Having been denied the opportunity to wear the One Love armband, designed to show support for, among others, the LGBTQ+ community, the likes of Manuel Neuer, Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich, held their hands over their mouths to signify they were being silenced.
‘You know when you go to a World Cup, you know you can’t lose the first game,’ Wenger said, reacting to Germany’s premature group stage exit.
‘The teams who have the experience to perform in tournaments like France and England played well in the first game.’
‘The teams who were mentally ready, with a mindset to focus on competition, and not the political demonstrations.’
Solbakken, who coaches current Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard, has looked up to Wenger in the past and says it is ‘scary’ how such a respected figure could come out with such insensitive statements.
Speaking to Norwegian channel TV 2, Solbakken said: ‘It shudders to see that the smartest man in the world, Arsene Wenger, who has been looked up to over the years, has somehow been brainwashed and is now making the most stupid statements.
‘It’s scary with all the people we’ve looked up to in the football world for years.
‘There’s a polarisation going on right now, and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse.’
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