Huddersfield head coach David Wagner has described Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger as “a living legend”.
Wagner made clear his admiration for Wenger before Wednesday night’s Premier League game between the two sides at the Emirates Stadium and will relish his first encounter with the 68-year-old Frenchman.
“I will meet him for the first time,” Wagner said. “He is a living legend and it’s exciting to meet him and his team.
“He has done a lot of things for football in this country. We play as Huddersfield Town against Arsenal at the Emirates.
“This is exciting enough with the night game and the floodlights. We will try everything to perform and hopefully get some points.”
Wagner, appointed by Huddersfield in November 2015, said Wenger’s record since taking charge of the Gunners back in 1996 spoke for itself.
“Even in Germany they are aware about Arsene Wenger’s record and what he has done in England, especially for Arsenal,” Wagner said.
“He has worked with a few German players in the past and all of them praise him. Everything I have seen since I have been here has been top-class. He is consistently one of the best managers in the world.”
Wagner said he could not comment on whether the criticism Wenger has endured down the years had been warranted.
“If you manage 21 years at Arsenal – a team at the top level – then criticism is part of your job,” the German said.
“It’s all about how he handled it. He always handled it with calmness, and this shows his qualities. It’s all about how you handle criticism as a manager and he’s done it at the top level.”
The Terriers are bidding to avoid a third straight Premier League defeat for the first time this season following Sunday’s narrow home defeat to Manchester City.
Wagner’s side have won four of their 13 top-flight matches, but not since their opening-day at Crystal Palace have they registered a win on the road, while Arsenal have won all six of their league games at the Emirates.
“Everybody is aware about Arsenal’s home record as well as our away record,” Wagner added.
“It looks like the chances we have are not the highest. But when the game starts this doesn’t count. We will do everything that we can to see what we can get out of this game.”
Town will be without the suspended Rajiv Van la Parra, who starts a three-game ban following his late dismissal on Sunday.
Wagner, who has no other new selection issues, said the winger had apologised to him and his team-mates for his straight red card, brandished after the final whistle for his spat with Leroy Sane.
Kasey Palmer, sidelined since September due to a recurring hamstring injury, will not be involved at the Emirates, but Wagner confirmed the Chelsea midfielder will be involved in the “near future”.