Just a few of years ago, after the “homegrown” rules were tightened up in the European Leagues, Arsene Wenger promised 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 were hailed as the future of their country..
This cluster of English talent was also supposed to bring more heart and loyalty to our cosmopolitan side, and they were expensively fortified by the arrival of Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers, but now we have fast-forward to March 2016 and that very same English core has become synonymous with inconsistency, long-term injuries and unfulfilled promise.
All of those seven named are still Arsenal players, but there were only two named in Roy Hodgson’s squad this week; Theo Walcott who (as usual) got injured in training and will not face Germany (even if Hodgson would have actually taken him off the bench), and Danny Welbeck, who has played in only a handful of games since returning from a year out through injury. And Arsene Wenger is still admitting concerns about his fitness even now…
There is still hope that one day all our English players will be fit and in form at the same time, but as time has passed, younger and more consistent younger Englishman have evolved at other clubs, and the chances of Arsenal players becoming the dominant force for England is diminishing every season.
The “English core” haven’t even been able to become the dominant force at Arsenal…..