Arsenal Debate: What happened to Wenger’s “English core”

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?

Tags Gibbs Walcott Wilshere


    1. OZIL. Since he came to Arsenal he has missed 8 months of football in 2 seasons with long injuries. That is 1 season of football missed. No wonder Fabregers has more assist in 1 season than Ozil has in 2 SEASON.

      Giroud. He has no injury history but this year he was out for 3-4 months.

      Debuchy. He has missed 8 months of football this season with 2 operations. Like he said it himself it is emberasing. He has done his hamstring in training. crazy.

      Arteta. He has missed 5 months of football this season.

      Rosisky. He is in and out with injuries.

      Diaby. he has not kicked a ball this season.

      Kosieny . He kinda missed the first 2- 3 months of the season with lower back injuries and achiles injuries.

      Ospina. he missed the first 3 months of the season with injuries.

      Gabby just came in with no injury history and is now getting injured.

      Apart from Per Sanchez and cazorla the rest of the squad British or EU or Latin have all had spells with injuries. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. I KNOW THE MANAGER AND THE CLUB HEALTH DEPARTMENT ARE DOING THEIR BEST BUT ITS CLEARLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

      1 question for Arsenal fans. Would CESC Fabregars had played every game of the season if he was at ARsenal???? for me the answer is a big NOOOOOOOO. So people who think there is nothing wrong at the club are dreaming.


      1. The only worrying one is Gabriel. Injuries to OG and MD were inflicted on them – not symptomatic of a dodgy physio/training. Seems like Rosicky has been injured for 8 years, Diaby almost as long so no surprises or news there. Ospina came to us with a problem – seems to be sorted now.

      2. Statistics show that injuries often follow the agenda of the manager in charge. Gerrard for instance was constantly out with injury the seasons before Rodgers came to Liverpool – he’s hardly been injured ever since. Then of course there are the players who’re just bizarrely unlucky, like Flanagan and Sturridge.

        I think we will be stuck with notorious injury in the squad for as long as Wenger is here

    2. No ,no,no,sell them all,no just keep Ox and Gibbs the rest must to sold they’re getting money to seat in the physio room and they are overpaid overrated overhyped just sell and get the money and run.

    3. English squad core is still good – from a selfish point of view not really so important as to whether they are starters or not. Good news is that we have 6 or 7 English players who can come in to the first team without anyone really batting an eye or getting massively upset with big drop-off in quality. At the right time I have no problems seeing Walcott, Wilshere, Ox, Welbeck, Gibbs, Chambers etc appearing in the starting line-up.

  1. 1. English players in the team are injury prone players or injury didn’t do them good this season.

    2. They need to step up. I don’t want to say they are not good enough but they need to improve drastically.

    3. I hope players like Welbeck and Wilshere steps up next season. We all see what Ox can do this season. We know Walcott is good on His day as well…However, we need a mix of English Core and some foreign players in the team…COYG!

    1. Besides Gibbs who is very important with great rivalry we are talking about three players. Two of them have been riddled with injuries to pass any judgement on them for the season. Welbeck has been crucial towards our dogged displays and i think general play he has proved himself a useful addition.

      You say core like its all on them but the truth is that they are apart of a core. Also core is usually central players which Welbeck has rarely played and neither Gibbs nor Walcott does play. You then have Jack who with Ramsey are central to our plans.

      1. Forgetting Ox of course, should have been besides Gibbs four players to speak of this season with two injured. Ox i hope has a big future playing centrally and is an important player for sure.

  2. Do we really care-

    Personally I care much more about the potential 3 points than I do about the nationality of the players themselves.

    For what its worth, I think Jack has looked very good in he’s recent spells, adding directness, aggression to at times a lack lustre attacking threat. Not an easy team to push your way into – but I think it might achieve it-

    Think the road ahead will be harder for Walcott

  3. Jenkinson loan was exactly what he needed. Theo always injured. Gibbs injured. OX always injured. Chambers on here 1 season. To me the only worry is Wilshire who is always injured. He’s got the most potential as we’ve seen but needs to be injury free.
    The players we used to have to throw right into the mix because we needed them isn’t the case anymore as we have so much quality on the bench. We can finally afford to ease players like Jack & Theo back into play slowly & not risk re injuring them like we used to. That’s a great problem to have

  4. Jenkinson – had a really great season out on loan played far more and developed more than he would have if he’d stayed at arsenal. I hope to see him loaned to West Ham again then hopefully come back to arsenal and fight for the right back possition.

    Chambers – had a great season you look at the amount of football Bellerin has played recently and chambers has hardly featured but Chambers has still played a lot more minutes of football than bellerin this season not a natural right back but did a great job earlier in the season and a more central position looks to be where he’ll play in the future but he was never going to be first choice straight away. Also played for the England national team and then back to the England u21’s so it’s been a big season for him this season.

    The Ox – Really looks to have improved this season played a lot but been injured recently.

    Gibbs – monreal has been fantastic this season so unfortunately for him he’s now 2nd choice and not having regular starts had impacted his form slightly but still a very good player.

    Welbeck decent first season needs to improve on aspects of his game but he definitely has potential to be a top player.

    They & Jack unfortunately been injured most of the season.

    The English core is still strong you need a certain amount of British players in the team and we’ve got some of the best and they all should get better.

  5. Simple really. We started the season saying ‘look at us with our English core, we’re all for supporting home grown players for once’. Then we soon realised our English players aren’t really that good compared to the other options we have in our squad.

    Wilshere isn’t good enough to start. I haven’t given up on him, but he’s no where near the level of Cazorla, who’s the player he’s competing with.

    Ox, for me is our best English prospect and I think he’ll be excellent if he can stay free of injury. But at the moment he can’t stay free of injury.

    Gibbs is ok. I quite like him, he’s good at getting forward but he’s nothing particularly special. At the moment Monreal is the better player. For me it’s astonishing that Gibbs and Monreal have stayed injury free for so long.

    Chambers is still decent and young. Too slow to be a right back really, and too inexperienced to play CB at the moment.

    Walcott. He’s never quite come back from his injury. He was scoring goals and playing quite well, but then he was dropped for the North London derby (Why? No one knows…) and hasn’t got back into the team since. Still a good player but not on the same level of our best players.

    Welbeck. I actually quite like Welbeck. He’s quite selfless and very professional. He has a good shot on him, loads of pace, decent movement and is quite good in the air. Whenever he shoots, quite often it is on target and a pretty decent shot, but for some reason it never finds the back of the net, like with Cazorla’s shots too. Welbeck’s hold up play could be better too. He’s just not prolific enough for my liking, he has all it takes to be a prolific striker though, hopefully it’ll come together someday.

    Then there’s Ramsey. He’s not even English, however much we’d like to have him in our national team instead of Henderson, so I don’t know why we count him.

    If everyone is fit. Only one English player would be in our best 11 – either Walcott or Ox on the right.

  6. There should be a medical inquest at the emirates. As far as i know Ozil Diaby Bossieny Arteta Debuchy Giroud are not englaish and have been out.
    OX chamberlin cannot play 3 games in a row without a hamstring.
    Ramsy has muscle injuries every season.
    Jack is out every season.

    The medical people need to expalin what the real problem with the injuries are. When GIbbs was fit for 6 months he said he was working with a private PHysio to help him. Doesn’t that say alot about the problems we have?

    Ozil had no real injury hiostory. Now every season he misses 3 monthss. Hazard and cesc are playing everygame.


  7. That’s why we need more depth and TWICE as many WC players as other clubs

    We MUST sign a WC player in every position and Oxlade, Walcott, Cazorla, Ramsey, Coquelin,Koscielny, Mertsacker, Monreal, Debuchy and Ospina should be on the Bench.

    Only Ozil and Alexis should remain on 1st team

    We should sign the following players THIS SUMMER to add to Alexis and Ozil

    1. Lloris
    3. Ramos
    4. Alba
    5. Alves
    6. Busquets
    7. Vidal or Pogba
    8. Reus
    9. Cavani or Suarez

    We can easily afford transfer fees and salaries by selling or letting go of the following players:
    Podolski, Welbeck, Sanogo, Campbell, Jenkison, Chambers. Wilshere, Arteta, Diaby, Flamini, Szczesny

    To solve injury problem is Simple. Sign more top quality players

    1. haha it’s that easy??
      damn.. who needs Wenger?? let’s get you in there!! I’m sure you’re great at Fifa career mode!!
      Seriously though, why do you ‘support’ the team if you only like two players?

        1. Lloris is quality. Don’t care if he’s Tottenham or not, I’d love to have him as our goalkeeper. Campbell was a Tottenham captain too was he not… Unfortunately I can never see us getting Lloris, he’ll probably replace De Gea at United.

  8. I can only see one player breaking into the team and the next best of British belongs to Wales in the form Ramsey who has impressed against Munich,Monaco,Chelsea,Man Utd.

  9. If I was to sign for the Arse next season I’d request being sent out on loan so I wouldn’t be continual out injured and under the care of Jeckel and Hyde at the Arsenal.

  10. The fitness level of the 7 English core players at Arsenal has gone problematic for Arsenal and for England as those 7 are injured or have repeated injuries over and over again. What is there problem with picking up injuries often than not? I think they need some injuries avoidance education. They should all learn injury stay freedom from Rhinosacker, Coquelin, Bellerin, Santiago Cazorla and Sanchez. These 5 Gunners play week in week out for Arsenal and they are hardly injured. Even if any of the 5 does picked up any injury, he will recover so quickly that you hardly noticed he was injured. Unlike these 7 English core players that will be injured for 1rd of a season, half a season or even for almost a full season. Some players should avoid getting involved in heavy tackles to allow the injuries they have had to heal deeper overtime before venturing again in any audacious tackles. The Boss has been avoiding starting Walcott and Wilshere to prevent them from recurring injuries as a result of any heavy tackles. Despite the duo feeling they ready to start. But it is during start when the game is played with most intensity and the risk of getting injured is higher than to come on as a substitute. Let’s us take nature into account as we are created differently from each other. Some are naturally gifted with stronger bones and muscles than others.

  11. Jenks Hayden Chambers Gibbs
    Ramsey Ox
    Theo Wilshere Crowley

    4 Seasons from now, if they all remain relatively healthy… I’d say that would be a pretty competitive first 11.

  12. If English players aren’t good enough then don’t bother with them. Fulfill the homegrown quota, after that we don’t need any more English players. If there are quality English players out there then by all means try and get them, try and produce them from our academy, but if we end up playing an Arsenal team with 10 foreign players and 1 English player I’m really not that bothered, and I’m English.

    At the moment the fact is that the Arsenal starting 11 is better than the England national team. Rooney, Cahill and Joe Hart are the only English players that would improve our squad, and they’re all already at title rivals.

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