Wenger acknowledges Mannone challenge

Arsene Wenger hopes rookie goalkeeper Vito Mannone is ready for the “big challenge” of a Champions League debut at Standard Liege tonight.

With regular number one Manuel Almunia having not travelled to Belgium because of a virus and Poland international Lukasz Fabianski still recovering from knee surgery, the young Italian is set for a baptism of fire at the 27,000-capacity Maurice Dufrasne Stadium.

Despite just one Barclays Premier League match, against Stoke last season, and a couple of games while on loan at Barnsley under his belt, Wenger is confident the 21-year-old can handle the occasion.

“It is a big challenge for a young boy to come into a Champions League game with such a big pressure, especially away from home,” said the Arsenal manager.

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