Now let’s get this clear. I am not attempting to disrespect Arsene Wenger’s brilliance as a manager, in this article! What I am trying to do, is to understand the logic of how he sees certain youth players, and the way he treats them from a first team perspective.
Arsene has long held a justified reputation for his careful, studied treatment of young players and for allowing them to develop their careers in what is recognised as one of the best club structures in the world. But what is the actualite?
Well, over the past number of years, Le Prof has successfully put out “youthful” teams in the Carling Cup and to a lesser extent in the early rounds of the FA Cup. So, what do we define as “successful”? Well from 2003/4 to 2009/10 these youthful teams have, in the League Cup, reached 3 quarter-final rounds; 3 semi-final rounds and 1 final. Many clubs putting out their first team squads would be proud of this achievement.
So far, so good for the youth development system, it seems. But what has happened to the kids who have played in these teams, as regards their first team opportunities? Go on, tell me, how many have gone on to be included regularly in the first team squad, let alone play in the first team? Their names do not exactly flow off the tongue, do they?
Well, you could say that the youthful Cesc, Song and Denilson could fall into the successful category, but they were really “bought in” players, recruited from other teams’ youth development systems. There have also been many others included in the “bought in” category, including Merida, Barazite etc, who haven’t made it, as of today.
O.K. so, what of the British kids who have successfully come thru the Arsenal youth system and, via the League Cup, made it as first team regulars? How about Hoyte, Lansbury, Randall, Bentley, Sanchez-Watt to mention a few? Well none of these!
We have high hopes for the future success of young Jack Wilshire and perhaps Kyle Bartley, but so many others look doomed to make a living with lower league clubs.
There is undoubtedly a great new crop of youngster coming thru the system such as Zak Ansah, Chuks Aneke, Beni Afobe and Jay Emmanuelle-Thomas. I wish all of them a successful future for themselves and Arsenal.
But is Arsene, on the strength of the current situation, deserving of his reputation as a great developer of youthful talent for the Arsenal first team?
Well what do you think?
Written by Red Arse
The future of England 🙂