Arsenal’s reputation as the team that brought more youngsters through their academy and nurtured them to play ‘the Arsenal Way’ when they arrived to play in the senior side. This is not so true nowadays and Wenger’s wish, five years ago, of his “English Core” becoming world-beaters seems to have fallen by the wayside, but yesterday’s squad did consist of players like Bellerin, Iwobi and Jack Wilshere who all came through our training, and the latest addition of Ainsley Maitland-Niles who Wenger seems to have picked as the cream of the crop of our upcoming youngsters.
He has started in Arsenal’s last two games, displacing Saed Kolasinac no less, and Wenger is very pleased with his progress. “I believe he is the future.” the boss said when asked about AMI. “He can play left back, right back, central midfield. Of the three positions, maybe the least natural for him is left back, but he adapts very quickly and is a good defender. He has that sense of one against one, he is very strong, he is very quick, he has very quick recovery runs when he comes back. He has some aspects to learn: experience and he has to work on his heading. But overall, what he has done in the last three days is positive.”
When Arsenal had limited funds whilst paying for the new stadium, Wenger managed to keep us in the Top Four by promoting youngsters from the reserves, but since Wenger starting spending heavily in the transfer market we seem to have regressed!! But now, with transfer fees reaching ridiculous heights, perhaps Wenger needs to go back to teaching youngsters the ‘Arsenal Way’ and bringing more into the first team. Last year was Iwobi’s turn, and now we have Maitland-Niles coming through, and we also have Reiss Nelson, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, the reserves Captain Julio Pleguezuelo, and Krystian Bielik (and many others) all maturing in readiness for the first team.
Should we be using our youngsters much more often as they seem to play just as well as our expensively acquired squad?