Gervinho Lashes Out at Former Manager Arsene Wenger, Arsenal

Ravin SampatCorrespondent IIFebruary 7, 2014

AS Roma forward Gervinho of Ivory Coast celebrates after scoring  during an Italian Cup, semifinal first leg match, between AS Roma and Napoli at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

Former Arsenal winger Gervinho has lashed out at his former club and manager Arsene Wenger, claiming he didn't learn much during his time in North London, reports Laden Cher of Sports Illustrated (via ESPN).

Gervinho, who signed for Roma last summer, has been leading the plaudits for his performances for the Italian side this season, which have seen them rise to second place, losing just one game, per Eurosport.

Speaking to Sports Illustrated (via ESPN), Gervinho said:

The fundamental difference between the Roma and Arsenal is the coach. Garcia here gives me confidence, I know that he believes in me. When I wake up in the morning, I really like going to work: I cannot wait to train and stay with my coach and my team-mates.

In Italy the people are great. Rome is wonderful and the passion for football is strong, but a lot of these qualities were also in England. What I learned at Arsenal? Honestly, not so much, because you cannot learn a lot if you're on the bench.

Wenger let Gervinho go last summer after two relatively unsuccessful seasons at Arsenal saw the player not only become a shadow of his former self, but also a scapegoat for the home fans' frustrations.

However, since joining Roma and being reunited with his former Lille coach, Rudi Garcia, the winger has been rejuvenated.

Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

Gervinho has been one of Roma's best players this season in Garcia's evolving 4-3-3 system. The Ivory Coast international has scored five goals and assisted five in 18 league matches this season, per ESPN.

The former Lille winger has seen himself become a key part of Roma's team as they chase Juventus for the Serie A title.

Felice Calabro'/Associated Press

He wasn't the only player let go by Arsenal in the summer, in what was seen as a mass campaign to get rid of a number of fringe players in the dressing room.

During his time at Arsenal, he scored just 11 goals in 63 appearances under Wenger, per ESPN.

Gervinho recently scored twice for Roma in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Napoli in the Coppa Italia, with the brace seeing his total rise to eight goals for the season since he joined the club, per ESPN. 

At Roma, the player has seen himself go from a fringe player to a regular—one of the reasons he signed for them. "I left England because I was not playing. Almost always be among the reserves was the worst thing for me and for my confidence," he said, via ESPN. 

Sang Tan/Associated Press

But Gervinho's comments are exactly the reason Wenger let him go in the first place, and they won't come as a surprise to Arsenal fans.

Speaking in an interview on Arsenal Player in August 2013, Wenger said upon letting Gervinho leave:

I made that decision [to sell Gervinho] because he looked to play with a lack of confidence, especially at the Emirates. 

He is a very creative player, an instinctive dribbler and for that you need a lot of confidence to be completely efficient. I felt that in the last six months it was very difficult for him to express his talent in a confident way.

Despite his fine form, Arsenal fans will be relatively happy to see him go.

The loss of Gervinho has meant Wenger has used attacking midfielders in wide positions, which has seen Arsenal lead the top of the Premiership since September.

Players like Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil are all flourishing in a rotational system behind the lone striker.