There has been much discussion over why the Gunners seem to suffer from more long term injuries than any other club in the Premier League, and there have been questions asked of our fitness regimes and and even Arsene Wenger’s (or even England’s) coaching methods, which teach players the Arsenal way from a very young age.
Now Arsenal legend Martin Keown has offered a completely different idea, saying that he believes it is the type of pitches that the youngsters play on that are causing the problems and he specifically cites the case of Jack Wilshere.
Keown said in an interview in the Mail: “Medically, I think Arsenal are as good as anyone. They’ve spent millions on a new medical centre at the training ground, and they always have excellent sports scientists on hand.
“One thing Wenger likes to do is to simulate the matchday pitch on the training ground – when I was there they had Desso pitches in the training ground, as well as the stadium. These are grass and artificial grass hybrids and are quite hard surfaces, and by the end of my career I could feel every impact in my joints. Imagine training on that pitch every day. Wilshere has been playing on it since he joined the club as a young child.”
It’s an interesting idea, and one that perhaps could be investigated. Everyone wants to see perfect pitches at all times when they go to watch professionals, but when I was young I remember watching many games played in thick mud (and played in them myself) which made for soft landings most of the winter. I guess if you played from say the age of ten on hard pitches all year round I could see that that could have a lasting effect.
What do you think of Martin’s theory?