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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Wenger praises Pat Rice's fighting spirit

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he expects former assistant Pat Rice’s “legendary strength” will help him win his battle with cancer.

Arsene Wenger is hopeful over Pat Rice's recovery.
Arsene Wenger is hopeful over Pat Rice's recovery.

News emerged on Thursday that former Gunners defender Rice, who worked as Wenger’s assistant from 1996 until 2012, is receiving treatment for the disease.

Wenger told Arsenal Player he has confidence that Rice’s fighting spirit will help him to recover.

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“It is very sad news,” Wenger said. “Not only do we love him, but of course we are very grateful for what he has done here. We are in touch with him, but I trust his legendary strength to get over it.

“I am confident that he still has the fighting spirit he always had to get over it and that he will come out in a successful way. That is what he needs now [strength of character] -- he has that. In such a difficult period, it is a huge resource.

“His mental state is very determined, very strong as he always has been. He will fight for that. I have complete trust that he will come out in a very strong way and of course let us hope for the best.”

On Friday the Daily Mirror reported that the Arsenal players were planning to wear T-shirts in support of the 64-year-old, but this was later denied by a spokesman for the club.

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