Just a couple of years ago, Arsene Wenger was trying to build an “English core” of players educated in the Arsenal academy and taught to play the Arsenal way. There were lots of home-based players coming through and signed up to long-term contracts. Players like Carl Jenkinson, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs were all picked to play for England and the future was looking bright.
Wenger said at the time: “It is… not by coincidence, it is down to the work that we have done that we have more good English players,”
“We look first at quality. If the quality is local, it is of course even better because it gives you more guarantee of stability because the players who are English who play for Arsenal are more likely to stay for a longer term than foreign players.
“But we look first at quality, that is the most important thing.”
That was then, but now is now. All those players have become a couple of years older. Jenkinson was loaned out to try and improve his game enough for him to become a Gunner, and we have also seen the arrival of the England striker Danny Welbeck and younf Calum Chambers, but have these players developed into the English Core that Wenger was desperate to form the spine of the side? The answer has to be a resounding NO!
The English players that Wenger had brought through the Arsenal system all seem to have ongoing injury problems, and although Wilshere and Walcott have been given some cameo roles in the last couple of games, the whole starting XI that have taken the field for the last six games have ALL been foreigners (except for the Welshman Aaron Ramsey I guess). Le Prof mentioned yesterday: “They have been injured,”
“Walcott has been out for a year. Wilshere has been out since November. Kieran Gibbs is now coming back. It’s true, they had little setbacks.
“I know our future is only bright if I can keep a cohesion, and a core of players who have been educated here and can play year-in year-out together.”
We all had such high hopes of these youngsters becoming the mainstay of our team, but the fact is that our improvement since the turn of the year has all been down to players from other countries.
Can you see our “English core” ever being good enough (or fit enough!) to carry Arsenal to the title?