Arsenal boss reveals process on progressing youth – Names future stars

Arsene Wenger has revealed the thought-process behind promoting youth players into his first-team, following the exciting emergence of Alex Iwobi.

The 19 year-old has moved from the Under-21 squad, to a first-team regular in the past couple of months, and has just earned himself a new five-year deal with the club.

His boss Arsene Wenger has now claimed there are a number of future stars in or about the first-team, and goes onto name three of those who are closest to earning their call up to the playing squad.

“We have many players of big quality,” Wenger told the Arsenal Weekly Podcast. “The guys with me now are Chris Willock, who is very impressive, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who is with us on a daily basis, and Reiss Nelson.

“We have a few players. Behind the first team, there is a core of six or seven players – I do not name them all now – who are really a guarantee for the future of Arsenal Football Club.

“You assess his individual performances in training compared to the players who have a regular part in the Premier League.

“Once you see that [a youth player] can match that, you question yourself [if he is ready]. And if a player manages consistently to make you wonder, ‘Oh he might be ready now,’ then at some stage you find a moment to put him in.”

Iwobi has certainly opened our eyes with a number of great displays, and the thought of two or three more young stars hitting the ground running in the first-team is exciting, but seems some way away surely.

Any team would much rather have their youth promoted to the playing squad but it is not a transition that many players can manage in the way that Alex has. The youngsters will of course be new blood into the system, but whether any can hold down a regular role in the near future is hopeful at most.

Reine-Adelaide has been in the squad on a number of occasions, but doesn’t appear ready yet, so we will have to settle for the impressive Iwobi for now.

Tags Arsenal Chris Willock Iwobi Jeff Reine-Adelaide


  1. Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine adelaide have already showed promise of being future stars for the gunners!

    1. I believe we have good youngsters in Gnabry, Zelalem, Adelaide, Iwobi and Bielik. I think these guys should all be sent on loan to PL clubs or Championship clubs in order to get them more game time. Then we can assess who all to keep and who all to sell.

      1. I’m starting to disagree with loan moves. I think they can help players adjust physically and with less pressure but I’m looking across at man utd and it seems their youngsters are just so eager to play well for their club and why shouldn’t it be the same here? we blooded in cesc young, jack was ready at around 18 as well so I think its more hit and miss with sending them out as sometimes they don’t get the faith from the manager to play as much or like with coquelin get played out of position

  2. In addition to the ones mentioned in the article, AFC does have some very promising young players in Zelalem, Toral, Akpom, Crowley, Vlad Dragomir, Bielik, Gnabry and some more. It would be interesting to see when they start pushing for first team spots. Seeing the impact of Bellerin and now Iwobi, it would be exciting to see another young gun come into the first team and impress the $h*t out of everyone!

  3. I like how Iwobi makes quality moves look so effortless. I was thinking on it when I read from some fans who were a bit miffed about Joel not being a shoe in at the time. I think that Joel has shown some terrific stuff and his work rate is good but for me whenever he is making a killer ball or trying to score you can see he puts a huge amount of effort into it. Effort is not a bad thing at all but when it comes to a players ball qualities, allot of the time it should look effortless to them. That is what they say about the great players, how they make things look so effortless. Joel puts a tremendous amount of himself into every game, on the one hand that’s to be applauded and or admired but on the other hand you have a 19y old Nigerian who is taking it all in his stride. Iwobi makes things look easy, like his goals, he took them with the correct foot and slotted them in his stride.

  4. well as we know wenger is at least staying for one more season, we will most likely see more or these younger players given game time next season, there are a few that are training with the first team on a regular basis. so they will be the ones that see more action than most others below them.
    – plegzeulo (the first decent c/h we might coming through the academy in years under wenger reign)
    – bielik (if can just keep in one position would be better progress for him)
    – willock
    – gnabry (if he can his feet again 6 months loan at rangers would have done him some good along side zelalem)
    -zelalem (doing well at rangers was a good choice for him to get more game time)
    – malen (he might just get in ahead of akpom at the moment for me)
    – nelson
    – macey

  5. Must say I am a bit excited with on the possibility of a newer generation replacing the older one. Iwobi, Adelaide won’t be long behind, this automatically spells trouble for Theo and Ox. This is probably the real reason Arsene moved Theo central and says Ox can be a CM. Willock and Adelaide could have gotten shots this season but Arsene I guess didn’t want to upset too many players at once. Bielik will be another adding to our depth. Nelson, I don’t know too much about him but he supposedly one our most gifted youngsters, and Barca tried prying him away if story to be believed. Zelalem, he is surely not far behind. Sheaf, I hope he can make it one day. Adelaide Willock Bielik Nelson Zelalem and Sheaf not far behind. Also personally I think Malen Kelechi Bennacer and Fortune are good shouts for little further down road.

  6. What about Isaac Hayden. He has done reasonably well at Hull and is a CDM which we do not have any off bar Coquelin.

    We also have Toral who is voted player of the season by Birmingham.

    Both are 21 and need to be integrated into first team.

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