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!