Sorry Alex, you just never made it

When it comes to understanding the game, knowing exactly HOW it should be played, Arsene Wenger is your man. So when Alex Hleb starts questioning the wisdom of his coach, you have to wonder whether Belarussian vodka has gone to his head.

Hleb's comments this morning are laughable. For two years we watched glimpses of sublime skill mixed with a lack of footballing intelligence from the Belarussian which meant that, more often than not, he passed when it was easier to score, or fluffed his chance when it came his way.

Only last season did we see more of the player Wenger would have wanted him to be, dynamic, willing to shoot - and yet even as the season drew to a close, his performances started to revert back to the bad old days.

I wonder now whether the elbowing offence which ended his season may well have been down to frustration over disagreements with Wenger.

His agent said that Hleb found it difficult to settle in London, that it was too bustling a city. The player himself indicated that his desire to win trophies made him want to leave.

“My view of how I should be playing didn’t coincide with the manager’s," said Hleb. 

"I told him last season I wanted to leave and think he was quite upset about it. But ask him. It may turn out he’s happy to see me go."

Is it because Arsene Wenger is so willing to let the players express themselves on the pitch that they decide they can take liberties off it as well?

His friendship with Cesc Fabregas, allegedly, seemed to be the only glue that was keeping him at the club. Now that we know his respect for one of the greatest young talents in world football was never sincere, it makes it even easier to say goodbye and not worry about his departure doing damage to dressing room morale.

Hleb said: “When we get scoring opportunities, Fabregas is much more selfish than me. Given a chance to shoot, he always goes for it — unlike me.”

That's the Hleb who managed only six assists last season compared to Fabregas's 17, scoring just twice compared to the seven strikes from Cesc.

It's a wonder he's looking for a move to Barcelona (that notoriously quiet city), to a club where he won't be put under any pressure. After all, Spain doesn't have a host of demanding sports newspaper, elections which see a president almost voted out just two years after winning the Champions League and releasing a manager who won the title with flair and passion only 18 months beforehand.

“I don’t know where I’ll be next season but I’d prefer Barcelona. It is being negotiated and, hopefully, will be decided soon.”

Ask yourself this - when did Alex Helb ever score a match-winning goal in a big game? When did he make a series of killer passes which proved what an asset he is to a team. Rocastle, Limpar, Overmars, Ljungberg, Pires - sorry Alex, you don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.