Mikel Arteta insists that he wants to give his younger players the opportunity to play, and has told his extender Arsenal to be ready when he calls on them.
The Gunners squad has been stripped down in recent weeks with both Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey having joined Takehiro Tomiyasu on the injured list, with both of our latest absentees potentially missing the remainder of the season.
With that in mind, we could well have to call on players who have limited first-team experience, and Arteta has confirmed that he is keen to continue the club’s hard work in promoting from youth.
“It is part of the project and it is part of our DNA,” he told Arsenal Media in his pre-match press conference.
“Our academy players have to have opportunities in this club and we want to give them opportunities. But we have to give them when they are ready. We will decide, depending on the game, whether or not they are ready to take that next step.
“When I see them closer I will tell you if they are ready!”
The boss has been able to rely on the same core of 12 or 13 players over the past few weeks, but with Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey joining Takehiro Tomiyasu in the treatment room, he will now be turning to those who haven’t had as much game time during the second half of the season
“That is the challenge,” he said. “That is why you have to prepare really well, every single day. So when you have the opportunity to step up, you are ready. If you don’t then when you have the opportunity you are not going to take it.
“That is what we encourage. We try to ask the players all the time to be at their best in training so the minute we need them, they are ready to give everything to the team.”