Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner says he has “tremendous respect” for Arsene Wenger despite admitting a different style of manager could’ve got more out of him.
Bendtner spent nine years at Arsenal but was unable to ever hold down a regular place in Wenger’s side before signing for Wolfsburg in 2014.
The Denmark international scored just twice in his final full season at the Emirates Stadium either side of loan spells at Sunderland and Juventus.
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When he first came through the ranks with Arsenal a lot was expected but a perceived bad attitude, as well as the plethora of attacking talent he was contending with for a first-team spot, meant he never fulfilled his potential with the Gunners.
Bendtner has previously admitted that he once called Wenger an ‘a**hole’ and ‘w***er’ in an angry telephone call after the former Arsenal boss had told him to stay at the club as back-up.
But in his latest interview with The Guardian, Bendtner – who is now a free agent – claims he had a good relationship with the Frenchman.
When asked if Wenger could’ve been stricter to keep him in line, Bendtner replied: “It’s difficult because he could not take the time to just focus on one person.
“I think if I had a strong figure in my background that could have made the difference. But Arsene and I had a good relationship and I have tremendous respect for him.
“I don’t blame him for anything. He was always honest and he understands there are things I did that I’m not proud of.”
Bendtner added: “I had dreams and hopes and I could have done more. There’s definitely some regret I didn’t take my career in a more positive way.
“Looking back definitely [made] me upset because there are moments which were very hurtful and difficult to talk about.
“I became too fond of the lifestyle that came with the money. I want to go back in time and hit that young lad on the head with a hammer.
“Make him understand what a chance it is. That he has something special – something he has to look after.”