Let’s hear from the youth…

Afternoon all and it’s a sunny day down here in London. The Emirates is glistening with shine and Cesc has confirmed once again that he will not be moving despite money bags from Manchester, Russia and Madrid flying around like nobodies business.

Onto today’s topic of discussion and this season’s crop of youngsters have been very much in the spotlight – more than any other year – and it’s mainly down to their ability, style and way they play football. Our youth players have pretty much become household names – players like Jack Wilshere, Fran Merida, Kieran Gibbs and the likes of Sanchez Watt, Giles Sunu, Frimpong, Thomas, Simpson and many more are names that most Arsenal fans know.

We’ve seen them play admirably in the Carling Cup, stuffing the likes of Sheffield United 6-0 and Premiership side Wigan 3-0 before their run came to a halt. The kids did go on to win the Youth Cup and on the way knocking out Man City in the semi and Liverpool in the finals – two brilliant academies. These kids are the future of Arsenal and we’ve seen players such as Vela, Cesc, Walcott, Clichy, Denilson etc all come through in a mixture of different ways.

The kids have been speaking today, so this is what they had to say – Henri Lansbury talks about his role:

“I think if I get a bit bigger I can move in to the centre and hopefully do well there, I would say I look up to Cesc Fabregas at the moment. He starts everything off, he creates the move and that is what I want to be doing. I’m learning so much about my position here. We go and watch the first team train and see what some of them do. Samir Nasri drifts inside, Theo Walcott goes round the outside with his pace. I try to take both of them on board and learn from that but the middle is where I think I can be.

Interesting views from Lansbury and if you’ve watched him you’ll know he’s inclined to move into the centre a little. Although he’ll be competing with a lot of players in the middle – Arsene sees Jack Wilshere in there in the future and we already have Cesc, Denilson and Ramsey in the attacking centre position as well as Frimpong, Coquelin, Song and Diaby in the defensive midfield position. It’s a tough one to crack Henri, but if you’re good enough…

Talking about Wilshere, he spoke on his role:

“They all talk to me and tell me what it was like for them when they were young players. But Theo is the one who helped me especially in that area. When he was young he would play a game and then not play again for the next six months. That can be tough so he’s been giving me advice on that. It helps a lot. Maybe I am following the same path as him so it’s helpful to have him around. I want to do what he has done really, he’s now a proper member of the first XI really and that’s what I want to be.”

And I don’t think it will be too long until Jack establishes himself in and around the first team. His cameo’s pre-season, in the Carling Cup and in the youth team have been amazing – he’s been the best player on the pitch and stood out above everyone else – he’s a little Messi-esque and I’d expect to see him integrated into the first team. Wilshere continued – focusing on the English contingent in the youth team.

“I’m proud that so many young English players have got this far. We’ve got a mixed squad but it’s great to see them coming through. It’s good for all of us in the team and it keeps the spirit up. There are more even younger too – Benik Afobe, Chuks Aneke people like that. The English players join the club at a young age and keep working hard. That moves them up through the age groups and they’re there when they’re older. Hopefully they continue to do it in the future too.”

Looking all around the youth system, you’ll see the average age is getting younger – our 15 year olds are playing the under 18′s, our 17 year olds are in the reserve team and we’re winning things at these levels – and what that means is that we’re developing a really good crop of youngsters who will push into the first team much earlier than the average player and when they are in their early / mid twenties will be pretty awesome…

And finally Fabianski has signed a new long term contract – although his performances this season may have lost us a few games – he is still highly rated, and Arsene said this about the Polish stopper:

“I rate Lukasz highly and I am very pleased that he has committed his future to the Club. I believe he is a top competitor, he’s intelligent and reads the game very well and has all the ingredients to be successful in his position.”

Have a good night tonight and more tomorrow!

  • TheSKAGooner

    I’m super excited for the future of Arsenal, just based on these players. We have such an amazing core of the team coming through in the next few years and it will be amazing to watch them grow into their firs team roles. Of course we’ll add a few players here & there from outside as needed, but the center of the next 10 years at the Emirates is already in place.

  • Arsefan101

    Totally agree SKA – we’ve got ready made / groomed players in every department – personally, I am really excited about Jack Wilshere – he is a special talent – but also happy with the progress of Frimpong, Gibbs, Mannone and Merida…!

  • zohaib

    This from Mamadou Sakho’s agent:

    skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_5376616,00.html

    Apparently we’re interested, and he’s either coming to us or going to Bayern. He’s a 19 year old defender by the looks of it. Anybody know how good he is ?

  • AJ

    He’s pretty highly rated and already plays regularly for PSG, dubbed the new Desailly by some, would be a good purchase for us I think. We were linked with him last year too. As for youngsters at the club, we do have some rather good player :D Can’t wait to see the likes of Wilshere and Gibbs being regular starters.

  • CON-MAN

    looks good, really wish I’d gone to the youth cup game at the emirates now…its good to see all these young guys, but who do you guys feel are honestly going to impact the 1st team, because not all of them can

    id definately say wilshere

  • Berth

    19 again!!, you lads are making me go mad. What do we need a 19 year old for; you lots shouldn’t be bringing this issues at this time. I sound a bit arrogant at the moment; am really sorry about that, but when our main competitors get £80 million and I see bids from Chelsea and Liverpool I get worried.

  • Berth

    Lets not forget the African cup of nation is next year January. So we have to be smart with our buy and should also consider players Like Ade, Kolo, Ebuoe and any other potential African cup of nation player that we intend to buy; it could lead to a big problem for us.

  • zohaib

    Btw, is Sakho African by any chance ?

  • Berth

    Zohaib!!! not thinking from that perspective at all.

    We need the best regardless of who they are or where the person comes from – but still, we should have that nations cup in mind; am not being racial but reasonable.

  • Debs

    Sakho’s French, Zohaib. And Berth, even though he’s 19, he definitely doesn’t look anywhere near 19, but much more older- he’s bigger and stronger than your average 19 year old! But we don’t really need strengthening, striker-wise (if no one leaves), so a younger player in that department isn’t a big deal, as long as, ofcourse, it doesn’t prevent us from spending money strengthening elsewhere!

  • TheSKAGooner

    Folks, just to let you know, Sakho doesn’t just play for PSG, he’s their freaking CAPTAIN! At age 19! PSG are not Newcastle or Hull. They are a major player in League 1. Think “French Big 4″. He’s going to be an absolute monster for Arsenal. He’s a big boy, with room to grow still. He gets stuck in, he’s tough, and as captain for PSG obviously possesses leadership skills.

    Consider this…between Sakho & Vermaelen, we’re bringing in two defenders who are both captains of their current sides. The back line management will be much, much better going forward for these signings. Both players are already first teamers for their international duties as well. So, despite the perceived youth of either player, there IS experience and leadership from both.

  • Debs

    Wow! That’s mighty impressive though. It would be good if we got both, but I’ll not get excited yet, until it is confirmed on the Arsenal website that they are Arsenal players, that’s if they are even realistic targets Wenger’s after!

  • Debs

    Oh soz, I thought the dude was a striker, Berth! He’s a defender like TheSKAGooner said.

  • rapudo

    It’s very frustrating that every transfer period , we are linked to some really good prospects and at the end often none materialise (arshavin an exception here). And every transfer period we are threatened with the loss of a major first-teamer. We lose players that we would love to keep, we flirt with some good prospects but do not even get a hug, and we keep adebayor and silvestre. Transfer season is surely the worst time for an asenal fan.

  • zohaib

    To answer my own question, Sakho plays in the under 21 French team.

    So if we did get him, we wouldn’t need to worry about the African Cup of Nations issue.