Premier League

Wenger gives backing to duo

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Sat, 20 Apr 2013 11:42:00

Chris Coleman insists Wales do not solely depend on superstar Gareth Bale and have other talented players.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Bale is up for both the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards after another dazzling season.

But Wales boss Coleman is adamant his country are not a one-man team and he believes March's 2-1 win in Scotland, when an unfit Bale went off at half-time, is perfect evidence.

"He is talked about for Tottenham more than he is for Wales," Coleman told Sky Sports at the opening of Wales' new national football centre. "But we have got other players as well.

"I get asked the same questions about the same player - Gareth Bale. But as you saw against Scotland, we are not a one-man team. We have had to win without Gareth, which is not easy.

"Gareth out of any team is going to be a loss. But we have got other players as well."

The goalkeeper, who joined on a free transfer from Plymouth in the summer of 2010, appeared 12 times in total for the club.

February's 1-1 draw at Inverness was the last of the Welshman's 10 outings this season.

A statement on the Kilmarnock website read: "We would like to thank Kyle for his efforts during his time at the club and wish him all the best for the rest of his career."

The Royals shot-stopper has been earning rave reviews for his efforts over recent weeks, with a star showing against Liverpool last weekend about as complete a performance as you are likely to see.

McCarthy is, however, keeping his feet on the ground and feels it is too early to suggest that he will soon be challenging Manchester City's Joe Hart for the England number one jersey.

The 23-year-old said: "As much as I have loved every minute of breaking into the Premier League this season, I can't be considered in the same breath as Joe Hart as an England keeper yet.

"I need another couple of seasons playing in the Premier League then I'll definitely be interested in representing my country. It's a dream."

The problem facing McCarthy at present is that he may not be a top-flight performer for much longer, with Reading having slumped to the foot of the table - 10 points from safety with only five games remaining.

He added: "Obviously I want to stay in the top league, it's the best place to be. But with our situation it's looking difficult.

"There's no pressure on us now because everyone expects us to go down, so we've just got to win the next game and see where each one takes us."

Both players have faced criticism this term but Wenger has been satisfied with the contribution they have made to help the Gunners in their bid for a top-four finish.

He admits Mertesacker may not be as stylish as fellow defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, but says he is an important player.

Wenger explained: "He combines well with both Vermaelen and Koscielny. They are good partnerships. He is a bit more 'positional play'.

"I have three good centre-backs. I can't be wrong when I make a decision, because all three deserve to play.

"Maybe he is less elegant and the visual impression is less pleasing, but he is efficient and intelligent."

Giroud squandered a couple of good chances in a midweek goalless draw with Everton and has struggled to win over the doubters in his first season in the Premier League after arriving from Montpellier, but Wenger feels he deserves more credit and has the ability to improve next term.

The Arsenal manager said: "He gave a lot until now and for his first season he is doing extremely well because he has a fantastic attitude, a positive mind.

"He gives us another dimension with the physical challenges in the air. He has scored 17 goals in all competitions, 11 in the league - for a first season that is quite good.

"He has good physical potential, Olivier. He wants to play every single game, he has a good basic stamina and he can absorb the games.

"He can absorb the body to body contact, because he's a strong guy. I think you will see more from him next season, and there's a lot more to come from him."

Wenger added: "He is very extrovert and has a positive nature. He wants to do well - he is desperate to do well - and is not the one who hides after.

"He stands up for what he has done and I feel he deals quite well with that."

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