Blooding young talent. by Bryan
The biggest fear when blooding young players is that they’ll freeze in the moment. The primary reasons this might happen are fear or lack of confidence. It therefore goes without saying that the best time to give young players a start is when their confidence is at its highest and fear at its lowest. So when is this optimal time? I’d postulate that it’s when there’s nothing to lose, when all other options are off the table. And right now, given Arsenal’s endless list of injuries to first-team defenders, now might be the perfect time.
As Emery said ahead of our Europa League game against Vorskla: “The Europa League is very important for us and it’s very important for us to win on Thursday and come first in this group. The young players are going to have chances.
“Then you know that some players like Eddie Nketiah, like Willock, like Emile Smith Rowe, have played. Then other younger players are coming through with us like Bukayo, Dominic, Zech and Charlie. For us, it’s not different because they are working with us every day.”
We do have young talent, so it’s baffling to me that Lichtsteiner, a 34-year-old blow-in who can provide no long-term benefit to the club can start ahead of Maitland-Niles (Boxing Day v Brighton). And we don’t have another defender in the 19-21-year-old range that would’ve been better than what we had on display the last couple of games?
And it’s not just our defense . . . Our midfield has been anaemic. Shouldn’t we be giving Joe Willock a run? Now is the time to give our brightest young talent a shot at breaking through.