Arsenal players try their hand at sitting volleyball
There was once a time when finding a group of Arsenal players sitting around shortly after training could only have meant you’d walked into a north London boozer and there was a great card game in progress.
But this isn’t the early 1990s and things have changed drastically. The current crop of Gunners have been sitting around to play some volleyball, Paralympics style.
Players Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson, Abou Diaby, Vito Mannone and Francis Coquelin swapped sports on Friday when Volleyball England coaches came to Arsenal’s London Colney training ground to show them the ropes as they explored one of the London 2012 Paralympic sports.
And given the performances put in by most of those players against Liverpool on Sunday, perhaps Arsene Wenger will consider making sitting volleyball a regular part of his side’s pre-match preparations.
Jenkinson was surprised at how tough it was to keep your hands in the air for so long (again another indication that this is not the early 1990s when any Arsenal defender worth their salt spent a good chunk of the game with their arms in the air appealing for offside).
The young right-back said: “It was good fun but really hard work as your hands are in the air the whole time and it gives your core a real workout. I have a lot of respect for the guys who are doing this at the Paralympics and I wish them all the best during the Games.”
And goalkeeper Vito Mannone admitted that his handling skills gave him the edge.
The Italian said: “We play a few other sports like table tennis and basketball when we have a bit of free time but this is really fun. The other guys aren’t used to using their hands so maybe I had a bit of an advantage today!”