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Could Wenger shape new England?

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Phil McNulty | 10:24 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fabio Capello travelled to Arsenal on Tuesday night to watch Chris Kirkland in action - and may just have got a glimpse into England's golden future.

Not in the shape of Kirkland, but in the form of a glittering array of young talent who gave Wigan's goalkeeper a busy, and ultimately unhappy, evening against Arsenal.

And the man who can shape some of the key components of England's next generation is a manager who has been wrongly accused of ignoring home-grown talent in favour of polishing gems found on foreign soil.

Arsene Wenger has always judged players on ability as opposed to passport, and the start of an eloquent answer to his critics may have been on display as Arsenal demolished Wigan in the Carling Cup.

Wenger, as part of his usual strategy, has given youth its fling in the Carling Cup.

The results have been spectacular, with Sheffield United thrashed 6-0 and Wigan beaten 3-0 in dazzling displays of attacking football that have set the Emirates alight.

And, to the undoubted delight of Capello, there is a heavy English accent about Arsenal's current crop of youngsters.

It is a fact Wenger is keen to underscore, telling BBC Sport: "It is fantastic for the club, and don't forget that in this squad there are many strong English players."

Only time will tell whether these players develop sufficiently to become Arsenal regulars or force their way into England contention - who can make that definitive judgement yet? - but if they are good enough, Wenger will play them.

The signs, and the sounds coming out of the club, suggest this is a group of English players Wenger will be more than happy to place his trust in.

And with Aaron Ramsey of Wales also in the ranks, Wenger is ready to give the lie to those accusing him of ignoring young British talent.

David Bentley is the name often thrown in Arsenal and Wenger's face as a gifted home-grown talent whose route was blocked by imports.

But was he good enough at that time and have Arsenal really missed him? The answer to that, in my opinion, is "no".

Let's not forget he had an undistinguished season on loan at Norwich City before building his reputation at Blackburn Rovers and moving to Spurs. There have been very few days when Arsenal have cried out for Bentley.

And you could hardly quote Steve Sidwell, James Harper, Matthew Upson and Fabrice Muamba as examples of the ones who got away. Good players yes, but never likely to become Arsenal regulars.

Now we have the new breed, and Wenger is as excited as he has ever been about a group of young players under his tutelage.

Arsenal youngsters

Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell saw their quality at painfully close quarters in the Carling Cup third round, and he told BBC Sport: "We knew they were a good set of lads at Arsenal, but nobody knew how good they were.

"They were awesome at times and would have beaten most teams. A lot of people would like to know how Arsene Wenger can do it.

"He has gone around the world to pick out the best - but there are also four or five top-class English kids in there so that can only bode well for the future of the national team.

"Arsenal are one of the few teams I would pay to watch. I've spoken to Arsene and he's admitted that these are the best single group of players he's had, they're exceptional. That's the best set of youngsters in Europe"

Jay Simpson took the headlines with two goals against Wigan, and he is an example of how Wenger nurtures and tests his players before deciding whether they will be a long-term proposition at Arsenal.

He was loaned out to Millwall last season, where he scored eight goals in 44 appearances and won the Professional Footballers' Association's fans League One player of the year award.

Like so many others, he has been at Arsenal since he was nine and has already won a place in the club's history as the first player to score a competitive hat-trick at the Emirates in an FA Youth Cup tie against Cardiff in February 2007.

The 19-year-old has pace, power and an eye for goal, as Wigan found out. Now he must take the next step.

The jewel in Arsenal's crown, however, according to those with an inside knowledge of the club, is 16-year-old Jack Wilshere.

He is already being tipped by many as a certain England player of the future, and his wonderful pass for Simpson's first goal against Wigan just hinted at the quality he possesses.

Wilshere is a slight figure and only made his reserve team debut in February, but the buzz surrounding him is already spreading beyond north London, and make no mistake Capello will know his name.

He has been likened to a young Liam Brady - praise indeed and an early sign of the weight of expectation on his shoulders.

Henri Lansbury has just turned 18, but again the gifted midfield man is already earmarked for great things and has earned England recognition.

Other names ready to push for places are Mark Randall, who was loaned out to Burnley last season, Kieran Gibbs (loaned to Norwich) and Gavin Hoyte.

The success of Arsenal's youngsters in the Carling Cup has led to inevitable questions about whether they could take the Premier League itself by storm.

Wenger the realist will know this is an experiment he would never undertake. They would acquit themselves well and would not struggle, but it is stretching reality to breaking point to suggest he could field these youngsters long-term and stay in the top four.

How would they perform away from the Emirates? How would they cope with regular exposure to the physical demands of the Premier League?

Wenger will drop these young players into the team when the occasion is right. Those occasional appearances, the Carling Cup, and those crucial loan spells will be their proving ground.

And, with some Arsenal fans believing one or two established names are feeling a little too comfortable about their places, the sight of these lavishly-gifted young men parading their talent may just cattle-prod anyone out of complacency.

I have never bought into the theory that Wenger was obssessed with foreign talent. He simply wants the best players playing in his team.

If they are good enough they play. If they are not they do not. It does not matter if they come from Peckham or Paris.

And he has paid for young English talent in the past and been burned. Remember the £16m he spent - and in large part wasted - on Francis Jeffers and Richard Wright?

All the questions being asked today about Arsenal's rookies will be answered in time. We do not know how far they will go, but it will be fun finding out.

What we do know is that Wenger has some gloriously exciting young talent under his wing - and England should be glad he is the man charged with their development.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:40pm on 12 Nov 2008, Parish87 wrote:

    Arsenal's young-guns being English certainly is promising. I think we'll know more this time next year or the year after. Stuart Pearce is probably licking his lips.

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  • 2. At 12:42pm on 12 Nov 2008, Bamber Boozler wrote:

    It is a shame you couldn't incorporate an opinion of, arguably, the best talent on show Aaron Ramsey.

    He, barring Jack Wilshere, looks to be the next big thing. He is basically a Welsh equivalent of Cesc Fabregas.

    The way that he seems to have all the time in the world when on the bal and the ability to spot a pass is fantastic. An eye for goal too.

    I am a Cardiff fan and as much as it pains me that we sold Ramsey for buttons, I am SO, SO PLEASED that he is Welsh.

    He will be integral to the National team for years to come. We finally might turn the corner in World football.

    What do you make of the lad Phil?

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  • 3. At 12:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, CapellosVoice wrote:

    Nice blog Phil. Not to undermine your point, which I think is spot on, but although he's not a JT or Rio I think Arsenal would potentially cry out for Upson at the moment. The central defenders aren't playing well, and Upson is big and good in the air (and English of course!) unlike his current pairings. Maybe Wenger hasn't missed offensive players that he's released, but perhaps this isn't the case in terms of defense? I'm not a Hammers or Gunners supporter FYI.

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  • 4. At 12:46pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mellors Moobs wrote:

    Jeffers a waist....... he's doing wonders down at Hillsborough these days ! lol

    Yeah they do look good the youngsters and now Theo has broken into the first team some of the other English players could follow!

    Good article.

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  • 5. At 12:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, Jeff Vincent wrote:

    I seem to remember Arsene Wenger did not want to lose Matthew Upson.

    Instead the player ran out of patience and asked for a transfer so he could get regular first team football.

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  • 6. At 12:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, notveryangry wrote:

    Matthew Upson didn't come through the ranks at Arsenal - they bought him from Luton.

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  • 7. At 12:49pm on 12 Nov 2008, Gunner Do you All wrote:

    The future is bright for England with these lads. Hopefully they won't be like Bentley and realise that it takes time to become quality players and even if it means spending a few more years in the reserves and on the brink of the first team in the long run it will be so beneficial for them,Arsenal and hopefully England! I pray to God other smaller teams don't come in and start waving money under their noses and then their off thinking their gods gift with out ever playing in the premiership properly. Good Article Phil, supposedly there's a couple of young Irish lads coming through who are suppose to be brilliant, don't suppose you could spread some light of them could you?

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  • 8. At 12:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, Marantz wrote:

    I think Phil McNulty is showing a lack of knwledge about Bentley and Upson.

    I certainly don't remember Bentley's season at Norwich as being "undistinguished." Indeed, it was anything but "undistinguished."

    I seem to recall Bentley rattling the crossbar from 30 yards at Old Trafford on what was, I think, his debut. A few days later he scored a stunner against Newcastle at St. James Park.

    Also, he was injured his time at Carrow Road but still managed to recover in time to play a key part in Norwich's shock 2-0 home victory over Manchester United.

    Yes, Norwich were relegated but that was to be expected and was hardly Bentley's fault. Moreover, it later emerged that Bentley was also suffering from a gambling addiction during his time at Norwich. All in all, he did very well all whilst suffering personal problems.

    Moreover, if Bentley had had the chance to play at Arsenal I think his Blackburn form gives us a glimpse of what he could have achieved. And certainly, I would have played him over a fading Ljungberg or a Hleb who initially struggled to impress.

    On Upson, I'll keep it brief. He's gone on to full England honors and is he really any worse than Senderos!?! I know who I'd prefer as a reserve centre back!! To be sure, if Senderos managed to achieve squad status at Arsenal, then Upson at the very least, would have matched that.

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  • 9. At 12:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, ozziesdream wrote:

    Yes, these players can form an important part of England's future..if they move to another club where they'll get the chance to move on to the next stage and not have to make do with Carling Cup appearences.

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  • 10. At 12:52pm on 12 Nov 2008, colmkav wrote:

    great blog. Cant stand all this zenophobic rubbish claiming Wenger is anti whats good for the English game. If the English talent is there Wenger will develop it. England is lucky that Wenger is in England as English talent will be easier to spot than somewhere out in Africa or Eastern Europe.

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  • 11. At 12:53pm on 12 Nov 2008, Plasticball27 wrote:

    is pointless to compare a Club team to a National Side.
    i don't really understand this article.
    Coaching a team 5 days a week for years is not like having to put together 11 players that hardly play together 5 times a year.
    nonsense.

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  • 12. At 12:54pm on 12 Nov 2008, bedshapedx wrote:

    Great article. There are indeed exciting times ahead for both Arsenal and England. A special mention should also go to Vela, even if he is not English. That lad will be one of the World's best in time.

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  • 13. At 12:54pm on 12 Nov 2008, megaleeburn wrote:

    I THINK THE FUTURE OF ENGLISH FOOT BALL IS LOOKING VERY ROSEY AT ARSENAL.


    LEE AN ARSENAL FAN

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  • 14. At 12:56pm on 12 Nov 2008, timmilew wrote:

    exciting times at the Emirates. The young English contingent have looked phenomenal and have taken everything that has been thrown at them.

    Randall looks an assured player, he was prone to giving the ball away last night but in the reserve games I have seen him in and the occasional first team appearances he has looked high quality.

    But Wilshire looks a much more frightening prospect, his composure, his skill and his refusal to show any fear no matter who he is playing against are traits that could see him becoming a world-class player. obviously, it's still early doors but my word the potential looks fantastic.

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  • 15. At 12:56pm on 12 Nov 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    We've heard this all before. Every year Arsenal's "young guns" blaze a trail in the league cup, and most if not all of them end up signing for Middlesboro 2 years later

    It is very boring

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  • 16. At 12:57pm on 12 Nov 2008, Maddog wrote:

    I'm not sure I would class Bentley and Sidwell in the bracket as the other players some would argue upson as well but for me he is over rated- getting to the point i think wenger has stiffled for the chances of young players in the past but then if you look at some of players he has brought through then you can't argue with his judgement that said i personally think sidwell is one of the most underated players in the premiership although now at villa is started to show is potential and I think that Bentley came through at a time when Wenger had many attacking options I think as well sidwell would be a perfect foil for farbergas although bentley would still probably sit on the bench not because of his quality but im not sure he fits into wengers formation. but i really hope these youngsters get a real chance to shine often with young players you get a false dawn hopefully not in this case
    Pete a spurs fan but also a England fan
    ps wenger would be an amazing England manager along with Redknapp!

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  • 17. At 12:59pm on 12 Nov 2008, bobbieflowers wrote:

    didn't see the latest rendition of the arsenal wonder kids last night, but sounds like another great performance.

    A question though, that was being asked on another thread i was just reading, is when is all of the promise of the arsenal squad eventually going to be realised?

    Arsene wenger is without question one of the best talent spotters to ever grace football management. But with a first team that already has an average age which couldn't be any higher than 25, when are the young players from this reserve team ever going to get a regular first team place?

    for example, jack wilshire is getting rave reviews at the age of 16, but i have read that most believe his best position will be central midfield, a position that is currently taken by another young, super talented midfielder who broke into the arsenal team at a similar age. likewise, at left back arsenal have clichy, at right wing walcott. Assuming that arsenal don't lose these players to injury or transfer (which would obviously weaken the team) when are the talented reserves going to get a chance to add their weight to pushing arsenal to the promised land of winning either the prem or champions league?

    Of course you could argue that it is a squad game and that all these players will get there chance, but arsene wengers arsenal are unique (maybe only the old ajax team of the 90's compares) in that the first team is team of young players, backed up by a still younger players patiently waiting for fabregas and co to...retire??

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  • 18. At 1:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, Ryushinku wrote:

    Wenger wants players that can play a certain style. Unfortunately there were very few English players that could play like that, or at the very least that were not already committed to other clubs.

    These young lads have been brought up and trained with this style. Long-term, Wenger could be one of the best things to ever happen to football in the UK.

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  • 19. At 1:01pm on 12 Nov 2008, LondonMadHead wrote:

    watched the game last night and was at the sheffiel united game. if the kids can play like that inthe next 3 games of the competition we will walk it!

    i wounder how wenger does it but have long since stoped being amazed at the guy's ability to spot and nurture amazing talent.

    if we were in america i have a feeling he would already be a hall-of-fame-er!!

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  • 20. At 1:04pm on 12 Nov 2008, Cwapsy wrote:

    Hearts fc have a much better youth team than Arsenal.

    Hearts reserves would have hammered wigan last night.

    Arsenal only managed 3

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  • 21. At 1:04pm on 12 Nov 2008, LionBleu wrote:

    Yes, it was a good performance of skills, vitality and enthusiasm. Plenty of promise there for future Arsenal and England. One swallow doesn't make a Summer though and more performance like this will help endorse the current optimism.

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  • 22. At 1:05pm on 12 Nov 2008, kptheleg-end wrote:

    Robbieo79 are you a spurs fan by any chance

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  • 23. At 1:07pm on 12 Nov 2008, Kingitiko wrote:

    I'm still savouring the performance of the team and, more especially, of the two players that stood out from the rest - Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Aaron is almost a complete player and Jack will be a sensation in a couple of years.

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  • 24. At 1:07pm on 12 Nov 2008, The future's bright, the future's lilywhite wrote:

    As a Spurs fan, I'm tempted to be worried about this, but I wouldn't bet my house on these youngsters.

    Everyone has seen the comparisons between england u21s and senior teams 5-10 years later. Half usually end up in League 1 and below.

    Secondly, Arsene has had a few good youngsters in his teams, but he has also had people like Senderos (what WERE Milan thinking?) and Muamba (already a Prem journeyman at Bolton).

    Lets wait and see before drawing conclusions on this - the Premiership doesn't usually accommodate a team of 11 technical passers of the ball - where would Arsenal have been without Adebayor and Flamini last season?

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  • 25. At 1:08pm on 12 Nov 2008, no1likesjonarter wrote:

    Funny how things change in a week, lets all just wait and see what will happen with these new youngsters. How many have actually made it through to Arsenal First 11 in recent years?. They tend to go out on loan and then you never really hear much about them since. They have some very talented prospects and at a young age they look like they can be very handy. However will all know that some players peak early and never turn out how they were meant to.

    Jon Harley, John Curtis, Jody Morris to name but a few.

    Wenger is one of the best managers around, but arsenal fans must also remember that the first team is not that young anymore. Spurs had a younger team than Arsenal in their 4-4 game. The players are getting older, not much older but are at ages now where they should be winning stuff. Its great to say look at our youngsters, but theyve been saying that for the past four years.

    Yes some of those players are English, but lets see what happens to them in five years time. Bentley was one of the best things since slice bread, but the english culture and Wenger do not get on, and alot of those great players will find themselves at other clubs.

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  • 26. At 1:08pm on 12 Nov 2008, WhiteHartJoe wrote:

    Arsenal supporter by any chance??

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  • 27. At 1:08pm on 12 Nov 2008, SucramVilla wrote:

    I have constantly criticised Wenger for not playing English talent, I like to see a club representing where they are from at the national and hopefully local level. I was previously of the opinion that Wenger stifled English talent by not playing them but now have come around to the idea that he has actually benefited the national team by raising the standard. I do applaud his 'I don't look at the passport' stance and I believe that if an English youngster does come through at Arsenal they will have the talent but crucially also the mentality to succeed for the national team.

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  • 28. At 1:09pm on 12 Nov 2008, BerbaKingWhopper wrote:

    Why is everyone getting so excited about the young english talent at Arsenal - this is only because they have been straved of it in the past (except Walcott). Other clubs such as Boro, Villa, City, Spurs and even Man U have been playing their young english players and giving them first team opportunities - they are the teams Capello should be getting excited about !!!

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  • 29. At 1:09pm on 12 Nov 2008, Bowler wrote:

    Realistic comment. The youngsters will be good if they have patient and let AW develop them to their full potential instead of getting big headed and want to be transfer like some others that, I won't say no good anymore but certainly not as good as they would have been if they had stayed in Arsenal.
    These lot now will certainly make PL players given time and more moulding by AW. Hope to see them playing 1st team football in couple of years.

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  • 30. At 1:09pm on 12 Nov 2008, mambo wrote:

    After watching the young gunners again last night, I have to say that I was very impressed by their pace, technique and awareness. It was a joy to see young players expressing themselves through their tallents and enjoying every minute of the match.
    Young players no longer come cheap, Arsenal have invested a fair few million in their youth sides over the past few years, but as Mr Wenger knows, it is cheaper to buy them young and coach them to be what the club wants, than to go out and buy the fruits of another coaches labours.

    A final comment on the game last night, I would like to congratulate Steve Bruce and his Wigan side, it is never easy when being outplayed, and must have been pretty galling to be mauled by a youth side, but they kept their discipline and went home with a lot of credit....

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  • 31. At 1:10pm on 12 Nov 2008, Hold those Cue Cards wrote:

    I know he's not English, but Carlos Vela was a bit special last night. His goal was sublime, I was sure it had taken a deflection because it was such fantastic finish, but the boy simply Suker'd, Kirkland. He also showed great pace.

    Wilshere was fantastic, if anything I thought Ramsey was not at his best last night, he and Randall were not brilliant together, but Ramsey still managed a few brilliant moments.

    If the Arsenal first team were all unavailable, you wouldn't be worried about playing these lads against 50% of the Premier league. I kind of wonder how they would've done against the likes of Stoke, Hull and Fulham!!!

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  • 32. At 1:12pm on 12 Nov 2008, RetiredNo6 wrote:

    I've been the staunchest of staunch defenders of Arsene Wenger in the past 3 years when there has been criticism of his methods, and of his tendency to place method on an equal footing to result.

    But the other Saturday evening, after the defeat at Stoke, I had a dream that he left the club by mutual consent and woke up on the Sunday to a day of questioning within myself whether that would have been such a bad thing. Maybe the end of the line had been reached? I eventually dismissed the idea, but the thought had at least entered my head.

    The approach against United on Saturday strengthened my belief that Wenger is the only man for this club. Which other top manager in world football under such pressure, with his team out of form, against a major rival, would have sent his team out to play with such freedom and abandon? Rafa or Jose... Ancelotti, Capello, Macnini and maybe even Sir Alex himself would undoubtedly have instructed their troops to batten down the hatches and "keep it tight" to "grind out a result" to "win when playing badly." Not Wenger. He sent them out to express themselves and play.

    Then last night really brought home what he has done. He has built the club a structure for the 21st century. A wonderful new home, that reflects Wenger's vision, a team that plays football the right way, and a club that sets out to entertain people.

    To see essentially a youth team tear apart a Premiership outfit with such youthful abandon. This isn't the Arsenal Carling Cup sides of even the past 2 years including second string players. Take out Djourou, the keeper and Song and the rest wouldn't make the second XI (one could argue for Vela).

    This genuinely is a bunch of kids, playing the beautiful game, and doing it with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. It's the boys born in Stevenage, Walthamstow, Tottenham and Milton Keynes with the boys born in Douala, Cancun and Barcelona. It's football as it should be played by the cosmopolitan new world order, played by young men for the enjoyment of the game.

    We have a youth set up now which is the envy of the world..... bringing through our own and and bringing in the best.

    There is only one man who could have created that.

    There truly is only one Arsene Wenger.......

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  • 33. At 1:12pm on 12 Nov 2008, GoonerRon wrote:

    I have been saying it for ages but the entire football community should sit up and applaud what Arsenal do with our young players.

    1) First and foremost, we give them a football education that will ensure that the vast majority make a career in the professional game

    2) We give them more chances than any other club to find their way into the first team

    3) We use the Carling Cup exclusively as a youth player competition which gives them big game experience as early as possible in their education

    4) If a player isn't deemed ready or good enough for our first team we never stand in their way to get a transfer and never hold clubs to ransom for silly transfer fees, despite massive premiums being charged by other clubs for English players.

    Hopefully, this bunch will remain level headed and grounded (unlike Bentley) who thought he should be in the team at 18 years old ahead of Pires and Ljungberg in their prime.

    I hope the two performances in the Carling Cup this season will put to bed those arguments that Wenger ruins our national team - I doubt there has ever been a group of young English players at the core of a team that produce such fluency and comfort in possession as they have produced.

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  • 34. At 1:18pm on 12 Nov 2008, Marantz wrote:

    kptheleg-end,

    I've been accused of being a Chelsea fan on a few occasions but this is the first time I've been asked if I am a Tottenham fan!!

    I don't support a club side at all. I only support England. As such, I follow young English players with a keen interest.

    Bentley impressed me from the get-go. His debut for Arsenal in the FA Cup with that chipped goal...then those aforementioned first two games for Norwich...I knew this guy had something special.

    I've been banging on about Bentley for years. He's a class act and one of the few (Rooney and Joe Cole being the others) truly technically accomplished, creative players that the England national team currently has.

    If I had my way, I'd build the future England team around attacking talents like Bentley, Rooney, Joe Cole and Theo Walcott.

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  • 35. At 1:21pm on 12 Nov 2008, Dan wrote:

    It's no coincidence that Arsenal's Carling Cup side has suddenly started to produce not just quality young players, but English ones.

    The likes of Simpson, Randall and Lansbury were among the first in-take of Wenger's reign, so I for one am not surprised that many of them have the chance to make the grade.

    Most Arsenal fans would admit that they would love to see a team full of English talent, but Wenger has shown patience in bringing hi own through the ranks rather than splashing millions them.

    Hopefully the English contingent will put an end to claims that Wenger has some kind of phobia of English talent - he has always said if they're good enough they will play, and that is now being demonstrated.

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  • 36. At 1:24pm on 12 Nov 2008, acesizzy wrote:

    "And you could hardly quote Steve Sidwell, James Harper, Matthew Upson and Fabrice Muamba as examples of the ones who got away. Good players yes, but never likely to become Arsenal regulars."

    The reason we can't list more examples of successful English players is because Wenger, based on his record, doesn't give English Players a chance. The above listed are the only examples of players who started their carers at Arsenal and since moved to other clubs.

    This will be the defining season for Arsenal. When they were winning the league or finishing in the top 2, nothing much was said about Wengers lack of British players in the squad. Now it looks like they are going to be struggling to compete for the title AND will have few British players in the first team. If any of the teams in the bottom half played regular football with as few British players as Arsenal did I think there would be much more noise but for some reason we let Wenger get away with it.

    Bring on the 5+4 rule!

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  • 37. At 1:27pm on 12 Nov 2008, EaStMiDz wrote:

    You should see West Ham's young English kids who beat this lot 1-0 in a reserve game the other week!

    Sears(18) - 2 Premier League goals.
    Noble(21) - Best U21 midfielder in England.
    Tomkins(19) - Best young defender in Europe.
    Stanislas(18) - Wilshere? This lad's better.
    Payne(17) - Cheltenham's best player atm.

    And there are more!

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  • 38. At 1:28pm on 12 Nov 2008, MightyBee wrote:

    To #1, he probably didn't mention Ramsey so much because a) the article is called 'Could Wenger shape new England?' and b) he isn't home grown, they bought him from Cardiff.

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  • 39. At 1:29pm on 12 Nov 2008, Eewires wrote:

    This blog will only be judged in time. If in 5 years there is a core of English players in the Arsenal first team then yes I have been wrong about Wenger's stance (what is the opposite of xenophobia? Xenophilia?)
    I still think that when it comes to the first team he would rather bring on a good foreigner than a good local lad. Walcott is given as the 'proof' that this is not so, but he is an exceptional talent who would have made it anywhere. The real question is 'how good would Upson have been if Wenger had nurtured him properly?'. We will never know, but there is no doubt that he and Bentley and others have proved that they are good enough for the Premiership - although Bentley seems to be a pain in the Arsenal so perhaps that is why he went.

    As I say, if in 5 years time the Arsenal team is riddled with local talent then perhaps Mr McNulty has it right, but until then we wont know.

    Of course the real cynic might say that he is only nurturing local talent in case the UEFA 6 + 5 rule is brought in...

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  • 40. At 1:30pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Let me answer a few points.

    On a general point, do people seriously think Wenger would hold back an English player to favour a foreigner even if that English player was better?

    Not a chance. He is too professional.

    Of course I knew Upson came from Luton, but I was referring to his time as a youing player at Arsenal, when he did not really show enough at to warrant regular inclusion.

    It was not a case of Arsenal's manager holding him back, and on the other side of the coin, has Wenger not done English football a service by providing young players with a football education, even if they do not make it at Arsenal?

    I have tried to hit a note of caution about these players, as some have also done, but at the same time it is only right we get excited about young talent emerging on to the scene.

    Time will tell whether they fulfil their potential. Arsenal fans will hope and pray they do.

    And to our friend from Cardiff, I have mentioned Ramsey, and I have spoken to several people with Welsh connections who believe he will be truly outstanding in time.

    It is a credit to Wenger that these players are coming through.

    I felt he was justifiably asked questions in the aftermath of the Stoke City defeat, but at no time would I even think of agreeing with those who felt his time at Arsenal was up.




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  • 41. At 1:31pm on 12 Nov 2008, My-Pet-dragon wrote:

    Another Arsenal wonderkid team...Another trophy-less season.

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  • 42. At 1:31pm on 12 Nov 2008, Albert Ramsbottom wrote:

    Lets hope the English players coming through at Arsenal keep improving under the tutelage of M. Wenger and co.

    There seems to be a few spaces to fill in the international setup. Adequate players are no substitute for talented ones.

    The same comment applies to all the young English players coming through at our big clubs. Arsenal seems to have the pick of the talent at the moment... or is it all down to good coaching and belief?

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  • 43. At 1:32pm on 12 Nov 2008, nepovede wrote:

    good article phil.

    i just hope (like a few others on here) that these youngsters keep their faith in Wenger and keep their focus and feet on the ground. thinking about it now, i does seem extraordinary that Bentley decided to leave after deciding he should have been in the first team at a young age.

    added to the excellent academies at Eastlands and at Middlesborough, if Wenger can nurture these players as we know he can, there seems to be a bright future for English (and Welsh and Irish) football. i just hope they all make the grade.

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  • 44. At 1:32pm on 12 Nov 2008, timmyjimmy wrote:

    I think the real question is just how good could Bentley, Sidwell et al been if they'd had the benefot of actually playing regularly and flourishing in the Arsenal side.

    Wenger doesn't have real faith in these players. He's using them in place of his real players, so that they can have a rest, in a competition he's stated on a number of occasions means nothing to him. I would wager that no more than 1 or 2 of these players ever becomes a regular for Arsenal.

    The other thing is that Ramsey hasn't come through the Arsenal youth system, he came through the Cardiff system and they poached him for a nominal fee, not quite the same thing.

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  • 45. At 1:33pm on 12 Nov 2008, Bowler wrote:

    I have to say, if every club plays football instead of some garbage tactic just to get a point or so, Arsenal would won the PL every year, well maybe MU would have a say. These are the only two teams that can really play football in the PL. Most other team relies on physical aspect of the game and some not so legal tactic and tackles to stop good teams playing or jam 11 men in the penalty area.
    The youngsters are also fast and if they continue develop their foorball skill, the sky is the limit

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  • 46. At 1:34pm on 12 Nov 2008, GretnaPat wrote:

    Whilst these young players are talented and exciting to watch, it is still vitally important not to get too carried away. The furore surrounding Teho Walcott going to the World Cup probably set him back a little bit and it is only recently that he has bounced back from that.

    It's important not to hype these young lads up too much and keep their feet on the ground. They are only kids afterall!

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  • 47. At 1:34pm on 12 Nov 2008, random50 wrote:

    If these kids have real world class potential, they'll make it at Arsenal. If they don't, then England loses nothing. We don't need more mediocre players (besides which, they'll still develop their limited talent wherever else they end up)

    Blaming it all on the foreigners is a complete red herring. Since when has competition *ever* reduced quality?

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  • 48. At 1:34pm on 12 Nov 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    Wenger gets his teams to play football the way God intended. Any lover of football will love the Wenger way.

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  • 49. At 1:34pm on 12 Nov 2008, richard crisford wrote:

    good blog,
    i agree that lot's of rubbish is written about arsene ruining english football, but he really doesn't care about passports. the national bias comes from the strength of the scouts and the french and spanish scouts have been very good recently.

    as for the players mentioned, where is the disgrace in a player being a decent pro? to make it at any of the top 4 a player has to be world class and how many english players fit that catagory? but not one of those players would say they regretted their time at the club or could have got a better education elsewhere.

    as for the current team, apart from the 3 players who have already played for the 1st team, i would say that 5 will definately play for the arsenal . another 3 could and the rest will make decent championship players. that is indeed an embarrasment of riches, and luke freeman hasn't even come through yet, or norved.

    lots and lots to look forward to!

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  • 50. At 1:37pm on 12 Nov 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    Good article Tim.

    I whole-heartedly agree with you that Wenger has recieved unfair criticism for not playing enough English players.

    Firstly, I believe that Wenger does not have a responsibility to the England national team, only to Arsenal, so he doesn't necessarily have to play English players.

    Secondly, as you say, if the player is good enough, they will make their way to the first team eventually, regardless of nationality. I think people slamming Arsene for selling the few English players he did have are just trying to find any excuse to have a go at Arsenal.

    But it is fantastic to see a number of young English players performing so well. Like I said before, if they are good enough, they will play, which suggests that these English players are destined for great things.

    I'd like to ask those who previously slammed Arsenal for not having enough English players in their squad, can you name another Premier League manager who would be willing to give young English players a chance to play? Barring Fergie's young team (which was over 10 years ago now), I don't think you could name anyone else.

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  • 51. At 1:38pm on 12 Nov 2008, Adam H wrote:

    Come on Spurs fans, cast aside your jealousy. I'm a West Ham fan, but can still see quality when its so blatantly on view.
    Ramsey is going to be a star, lucky Wales.
    Wilshire is phenomenal for an English player.
    Lets just hope for England, he can continue to progress

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  • 52. At 1:39pm on 12 Nov 2008, dyrewolfe wrote:

    15. At 12:56pm on 12 Nov 2008, Kapnag wrote:
    "We've heard this all before. Every year Arsenal's "young guns" blaze a trail in the league cup, and most if not all of them end up signing for Middlesboro 2 years later

    It is very boring"


    Well, us Smoggies don't mind...Boro are doing okay at the moment.

    Being serious for a moment, I too have my doubts as to when, if ever, Wenger will be able to field a team, largely made up of players who have made the jump from youth team to first team.

    I agree its a mouthwatering prospect - both for club and country - but so much depends on whether they really can make the step up and whether the first team opportunities will be there for them.

    Wenger seems to be trying to balance Premiership performance with youth development, which maybe explains why they've come up short in the league and Europe for the last few years.

    Still, I won't condemn him for that. Arsenal still play arguably the most attractive (if not the most effective) football of any team in England...possibly Europe too.

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  • 53. At 1:40pm on 12 Nov 2008, Arshavin the Genius wrote:

    There is an argument here that these young English players won't get a chance in the Arsenal first team, but I'm sorry I don't agree. If they are good enough they will. Jack Wilshere, who is 16 and was at school last year is already a member of the first team squad and has already made his Premiership debut away to Blackburn. Also it is swings and roundabouts to a certain extent because if Wenger played all these youngsters in the Premier League and Arsenal got thrashed you'd all be on here saying "what was he thinking playing 19 year olds with no Premiership experience". They have to be patient and not expect to play week in, week out after a few good performances, ala David Bentley. Also, I'd much rather have Theo Walcott on the right that Bentley anyday.

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  • 54. At 1:44pm on 12 Nov 2008, daloant wrote:

    Great job Arsen, what this shows is that players should be picked based on their ability, rather than where they come from. Just as Phil said, it doesn't matter if you are from Peckam or Paris, if you are good enough you play, and if you are not, then you don't play. I think that is faire enough for all

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  • 55. At 1:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    Wenger is the best manager we've had in England in the modern era. What's he done is revolutionised not just his club, but our approach to football in this country. He's consistently punched above his weight, spending no more than an average Prem League team. The secret is the scouting network and of course top class management. In Wenger we trust.

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  • 56. At 1:46pm on 12 Nov 2008, EaStMiDz wrote:

    "43. At 1:32pm on 12 Nov 2008, igor wrote:
    good article phil.

    added to the excellent academies at Eastlands and at Middlesborough"

    This has to be some sort of joke?!

    Man City and Boro have produced about 5 England players in the last 40 years!

    WEST HAM UNITED, THE ACADEMY OF FOOTBALL, have produced the following England Internationals in the last 40 years:

    - Moore
    - Peters
    - Hurst
    - Lampard snr
    - Brooking
    - Martin
    - Cottee
    - Ince
    - Ferdinand
    - Lampard jnr
    - Carrick
    - Cole
    - Defoe
    - Johnson
    - Richardson

    And that is ignoring all the Internationals West Ham have produced for the likes of Wales, Ireland, N.Ireland and Australia as well!

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  • 57. At 1:47pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    It has also been stated by many with Arsenal associations that Wenger has always felt it would take ten years to bring through his best English talent.

    Now could be the time.

    I honestly do not believe Wenger would have ignored English talent to show a preference for non-English players.

    We can, of course, add Jermaine Pennant to the list of young players (admittedly signing initially from Notts County) who Arsenal have not missed.

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  • 58. At 1:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, gunnerslover2007 wrote:

    Those who have commented here stating that few of the Carling cup team, one saying they just end up at 'bourough clearly watch little of Arsenal. Out of the Carling cup sqaud that played at the begginning of last season 4, Walcott, Diaby, Dennilson and Bendtner have made the journey up to the first team sqaud and didn't feature last night. Sure they don't all make it and Hoyte and Alliadere are now doing their bit for 'bourough but the promotion of 4 in a year is not to be sniffed at surely?

    Also for those who say that Bentley and Upson could find a place in the Arsenal squad, well may be your right. Unfortunately Arsenal fans didn't get a chance to find out as they were impatiant and requested transfers. May be critics of Wengers policies regarding these two should be asking why these two young Englishmen were so impatient to try their luck at none Champions league clubs unlike players like Flamini or Clichy who were willing to wait till well past 20 to get their runs in the first 11. Alliadeire may not have made it and the same goes for Hoyte but at least these two gave it a proper go and didn't bale out, Bentley and Upson actually showed a serious lack of belief in themselves in asking to transfer to lesser clubs at such young ages.

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  • 59. At 1:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mersonwastheperson wrote:

    I think you've got your blog spot on.
    It is an exciting time for England (and Wales, if you count young Ramsey).
    And to those who say 'yes, we've seen it all before, they will all end up at Middlesborough or wherever', look at the facts of the Carling Cup Final in 2007. No less than five of those 'young' players on show that day were in the starting line-up against Manchester Utd on Saturday.
    In short, Phil is right - those naysayers who thumbed their noses at Wenger because of his foreign contingent should finally realise that the future is most definitely homegrown.

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  • 60. At 1:54pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    That is some list from West Ham isn't it? Fantastic.

    Let me hear from other clubs about your production line of young talent.

    And tell me which English - make that British - players who you feel have been held back on their development because of the arrival of foreign imports.

    Maybe I am naive, but I do not believe any manager would ignore a superior English talent in favour of a foreigner.

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  • 61. At 1:58pm on 12 Nov 2008, lobotics wrote:

    The problem, as someone has already mentioned, is that Arsenal's current first team are already very young. None of them are going to be retiring anytime soon, so when are these kids going to get a chance to become first-team regulars?
    Sadly, it seems they'll end up leaving for better opportunities (and perhaps better pay), ending up scattered across the continent, and we'll never see this group together at the peak of their powers.
    I'm hoping I'm proven wrong though. (Being a United fan, that is tough for me to say)

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  • 62. At 1:59pm on 12 Nov 2008, hairingtons wrote:

    "We've heard this all before. Every year Arsenal's "young guns" blaze a trail in the league cup, and most if not all of them end up signing for Middlesboro 2 years later

    It is very boring"

    Erm, who have Boro bought in the last few years? Hoyte. One player. Get your facts right, you make it sound like Boro are an Arsenal B Team, which is total rubbish.

    We've got our own youth system thanks, and proud to say most that come through are English unlike Arsenal.

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  • 63. At 2:03pm on 12 Nov 2008, Bamber Boozler wrote:

    Phil,

    Thanks for the response.

    Not so much at the moment, but when the big boys are all fit, I think that CHED EVANS & DANIEL STURRIDGE will suffer from the influx of foreign talent at Manchester City.

    They are getting the run out at the moment and would surely have thought that this was their year to make an impression - and then they get taken over and have a bottomless pit of money and to kick things of ROBIHNO signs.

    They must have been gutted, I think that these two are potentially great players and will have to look elsewhere to develop there career.

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  • 64. At 2:07pm on 12 Nov 2008, Ichi_1 wrote:

    "Yes, these players can form an important part of England's future..if they move to another club where they'll get the chance to move on to the next stage and not have to make do with Carling Cup appearences."


    --------------

    I presume you have current names of players who have done is well to back up this rubbish?

    Bentley? Err thats it. And his short love affair is over. Hes not good enough so he got moved on.

    These players are all under 19. Some are only 16. So they are hardly getting held back are they. They are getting more actual first team top level experience than youngsters do at any other club.

    Are you annoyed that you cant moan about our lack of english talent anymore?

    Get over it.

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  • 65. At 2:08pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mr Chelsea wrote:

    bentley in my view is a slimey snake who has the most annoying smile of all time.

    he thinks he deserves to play in the top4 when he was at blackburn. he doesnt even deserve to play for any premier league club.

    why do we get these clowns nowadays thinkin they have the right to play in champs league, world cups WHEN HE HAS DONE NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE, EVER..

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  • 66. At 2:10pm on 12 Nov 2008, nickjonesrox wrote:

    Ramsey has been a class act for a long time.

    Cardiff City are mugs for selling him so cheap.

    He will become a major player - not on loan at Boro or Birmingham, but playing for a top team like Arsenal.

    He will go on to run the Wales team too and help us get to where we've threatened to go for a long time - a major tournament.

    I am so glad this fella's Welsh.



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  • 67. At 2:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mr Chelsea wrote:

    hi

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  • 68. At 2:12pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Chelsea Fan wrote:

    Wenger and his "youngsters" is one of the most boring and overplayed "stories" in English football.

    It's madness - he wins nothing. Beautiful football with no point whatsoever. And journalists blowing hot air over and over - year after year.

    How boring.

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  • 69. At 2:12pm on 12 Nov 2008, Clarence Cash wrote:

    As a united fan watching the game last nite i was pretty impressed with the gooners. the two front men looked pretty good and velas goal was class,but lets not forget wigan did have titus shambles at the back!!

    Anyway i think it would be great if we can get you lot in the next round. Lets not forget utd have some potentially very good players coming through such as welbeck, gibson, possebon,da silva twins... I think it would be a cracking game,and it would be interesting to see it at old trafford. see how these youngesters get on with 60-70,000 utd fans on their backs.

    United for the quadruple!!!!!!

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  • 70. At 2:13pm on 12 Nov 2008, Clarence Cash wrote:

    post 62- didnt aliaderie go to boro from arsenal!!

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  • 71. At 2:15pm on 12 Nov 2008, Silk wrote:

    "Every year Arsenal's "young guns" blaze a trail in the league cup, and most if not all of them end up signing for Middlesboro 2 years later"

    It's already been said, but let's make it clear :

    Fabregas, Clichy, Bendtner, Djouru, Song, and Denilson all came through into Arsenal's First team via the Carling Cup side.

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  • 72. At 2:15pm on 12 Nov 2008, blueboys1905 wrote:

    Jack Wilshere has always been an amazing player, I have seen him play when he was only thirteen playing in the Arsenal youth academy as he was playing my younger brothers Watford Academy team.

    There are many other great sparks in football as well, Tottenham has a great academy producing many great players, look for a player called Nathan Byrne, you heard it here first!

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  • 73. At 2:16pm on 12 Nov 2008, clearcheesecake wrote:

    England has to be thankfull to Martin O'neill for the young english team he's building at villa, he's the world greatest coach. Shame the FA overlooked him for the england job but thats villa's gain. Gabby agbonlahor will fill owens place but with extra pace.
    Aston villa are the model team a family club to be admired.

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  • 74. At 2:16pm on 12 Nov 2008, Silk wrote:

    And Ashley Cole, too, for that matter...

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  • 75. At 2:21pm on 12 Nov 2008, antiblazer wrote:

    We should consider ourselves very fortunate that Arsen Wenger is here in England, not only coaching our youngsters but setting an example to the cloggers and thugs who would rather maim than aim a little higher.

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  • 76. At 2:24pm on 12 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Please, you've got to sort out the moderation. It is stifling a discussion.

    Either go back to reactive moderation or return these blogs to ordinary 606 style threads. I have asked why they changed but have never been answered.

    Please?

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  • 77. At 2:25pm on 12 Nov 2008, SirGaelClichy22 wrote:

    Arsenal is the future of the England team and will be for a long time, the fact is that Arsene appreciates the English game and how it should be played more than anyone.

    Campbell, Cole are prime examples of top Arsenal players that play(ed) for England

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  • 78. At 2:26pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I mentioned at the time of the arrival of the Abu Dhabi United group that I really hoped the influx of money would not be to the detriment of the great academy system at Manchester City.

    The good news there is that I think Mark Hughes City is a manager who will want to see the academy flourish rather than be ignored.

    I hope so anyway.

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  • 79. At 2:34pm on 12 Nov 2008, hairingtons wrote:

    post 70 - yeah forgot that one, oops. Still not many though. (And they're both good players to boot).

    Before that, the last I can remember would be Ray Parlour!

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  • 80. At 2:38pm on 12 Nov 2008, marrakoosh wrote:

    I think between him and O'Neil, they're doing a heck of a lot.

    Then with Fergie close behind.

    As for a manager ignoring a British "talent" over a Foreign "talent". They'd never do that simply because they know that that is what English or British football fans want to see. To get a crowd behind a young English...sorry British...starlet is something very special.

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  • 81. At 2:39pm on 12 Nov 2008, villapatience wrote:

    Is this not the same arsenal kids side that villa reserves thumped at arsenals ground a few months ago 4-1 and our kids looked the better players

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  • 82. At 2:42pm on 12 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    Wenger's full of Bull s**t. Aresenal are a disgrace for the way they fill their youth teams with foreigners. The same goes with their first team. Arsenal fans should hang their heads in shame.

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  • 83. At 2:43pm on 12 Nov 2008, Bamber Boozler wrote:

    Lets hope so Phil, for their sakes.

    Though who knows how much longer Sparky may be at the helm, if any of these rumours come to fruition.

    On the flip side, it can do no harm for Ched and Daniel to train alongside big players like Robinho is suppose.

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  • 84. At 2:43pm on 12 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil McNulty - BBC Sport wrote:
    I mentioned at the time of the arrival of the Abu Dhabi United group that I really hoped the influx of money would not be to the detriment of the great academy system at Manchester City.

    The good news there is that I think Mark Hughes City is a manager who will want to see the academy flourish rather than be ignored.

    I hope so anyway.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Phil

    You are right that Man City produce some useful players and hopefully will continue to do so. In fact, just the other day you and I agreed that Hughes should stay.

    However, it ain't you or I in the boardroom is it.

    The new owners may see that promoting the youth would be a good solid way to get them somewhere. I would suspect though, cynically perhaps, that they won't wait the time it has taken Wenger to get there.

    Would you agree?

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  • 85. At 2:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, jim_fix wrote:

    to #10. good point. but in the words of stewart lee your comments would lend themselves more weight if you "hadn't have spelt xenophobic with a "z" instead of an "x" which means of course an irrational hatred of japanese budhism"

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  • 86. At 2:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, Andy wrote:

    Maybe Wenger should take a look at the boys at Crewe Alex.
    They have produced some quality players over the years, largely down to the guidance of Dario Gradi.
    An article of his dedication to youth policy may be of some interest.

    great article though........

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  • 87. At 2:46pm on 12 Nov 2008, footballandethics wrote:

    this post is a joke right?
    wenger has done NOTHING for english football apart from make bentley, the only decent player.

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  • 88. At 2:46pm on 12 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 89. At 2:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, footballandethics wrote:

    the best english nucleus is def spurs.
    they have lennon, jenas, huddlestone, bent, bentley, campbell, woodgate, king and a good few others, the majority of whom are under 24.
    wingbacks though scottish and welsh in gunter, bale and hutton are the future of britain too.

    arsenal have done NOTHING for the british game other than ruin it.

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  • 90. At 2:54pm on 12 Nov 2008, Zidanepirouette wrote:

    We've heard this all before. Every year Arsenal's "young guns" blaze a trail in the league cup, and most if not all of them end up signing for Middlesboro 2 years later

    It is very boring
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Agreed. Everyone was saying the same thing when Arsenal came to Anfield in the league cup and won 6-3 with Aliadiere the hero. And then what happened? a year later Liverpool were dumping them out of the quarter finals of the champions league and Aliadiere was at Boro!

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  • 91. At 2:54pm on 12 Nov 2008, gunnerstad wrote:

    spot on blog mate
    succes is almost everything but so long as wneger finishes top 4 im happy for him to play attacking football and filed young talent!
    trophies will come!

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  • 92. At 2:56pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Mr BlueBurns...I have referred up your query about moderation. Hopefully we can provide an answer of some sort on that one.

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  • 93. At 2:57pm on 12 Nov 2008, neova2 wrote:

    its' refreshing to see wenger fielding some of britian's future stars. He's always maintained that he doesn't look at passports when buying players but his track record says otherwise. Wenger doesn't like to pay big money for any player, not just the overpriced british ones, so his solution to finding british talent is to buy them young and groom them.

    An to imagine that many of these "youngsters" are just an injury away from the first XI is promsing.

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  • 94. At 2:58pm on 12 Nov 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    McNulty - now you are being naive if you think those City boys will get a look in. make a note, this time next year, Sturridge and Evans will be out.....as will Mark Hughes - replaced by some overseas hot shot.

    Look at the England manager - it's not just the players who are not getting an opportunity because of foreigners, but the managers too.

    Hopefully Redknapp's success at Spurs is one in the eye for the Ramos' of the Premiership.

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  • 95. At 2:59pm on 12 Nov 2008, CantonasCollar79 wrote:

    Two words:- Calm down. Wenger may be a good youth team manager, maybe the greatest, but his job is that of FIRST-TEAM COACH. And in that facility, he hasn't won a trophy for nigh on 4 years. Get a grip, reactive, sycophantic journos.

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  • 96. At 2:59pm on 12 Nov 2008, andrewmunday wrote:

    In reply to ozziesdream at 12:50pm on 12 Nov 2008:

    No offence but you sound like a sour spurs fan (ozzie ardilles by any chance?). I'm not a big fan of arsenal, but i would happily pay money to watch them, Arsene Wenger is a fantastic manager, and if players like Upson and Bentley had had some patience then they would be world class England stars by now. If the current crop of gunners are half as good as reported, as an Englishman, i hope they bide their time and stick out reserve team and carling cup appearances. Arsene will get the best out of them and that will only be good for the national team

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  • 97. At 3:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, holland4arsenal wrote:

    About AW and english players:
    to use the argument of our spanish meastro:
    Arsene Wenger NEVER set out to ruin english football and NEITHER is he now the saviour of it.
    He is the manager of AFC!

    And to be honest, as a gooner, i don't want to see anybody else leading us then AW. He's our coach, has the right vision for us and is the right man for us. You will be hard pressed finding any true gooner saying otherwise. I don't care if we don't win anything for several years, it ain't our right to win anything at all.

    Because what this man has been doing at our club will be remembered forever as there is an AFC, just as we still speak of Herbert Chapman.

    And as a much as it's true that trophies create history, all gooners will always remember that this strange bespectacled proffessor-like moody frenchman has laid down a path for this club to follow that is as important, if not more so, then what the great Chapman did for us.

    All the bleating from rival fans about hot air, ruining footy, magic youngsters and not winning anything aside, i bet that all of you (except ManU fans and rightly so) wish that you had such a visionary manager as this at your club.

    For us this man is a saint.
    In Arsene We Trust
    Come on the Arsenal!!




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  • 98. At 3:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, Nick wrote:

    Can I just say that when AW took over he wanted to see the talent coming through the ranks at Arsenal. Unfortunately it didn't happen and yes he said it would take about 10 years as he pointed that out as to why suddenly you got a lot of very good French players. They set up their national academy about 10 years before.

    I don't think AW can take all the credit for what has been happening even though he should get most. You have the likes of Liam Brady head of youth development, Neil Banfield and Steve Bould. It's a team effort that has taken years and will hopefully continue. You even have the likes of Bergkamp saying he wants to coach back at Arsenal.

    The way AW brought new philosophy to the country when he arrived prolonged the footballing life of the Arsenal back 4.

    If you want to see who's doing damage to English football then why hasn't anyone pointed the finger at Chelsea. From what I can see they only have 1 home grown player and that's John Terry. The rest were all bought in!!

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  • 99. At 3:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Boy Done Good wrote:

    post 11

    I don't get why you don't get the article!

    He is not saying that because arsenal played well last night that england will play well in 5 years.

    The point of the article is to highlight the young english talent that is coming through the ranks at arsenal. The point it makes is that these players have potential to be good, and since they are english, could also be good for the national team...nothing more, nothing less. If you watched the game last night (or the previous round) you will know this already and therefore find this pointless. I, and presumably a few others, did not see the game last night, and therefore was pleased to hear of the progress of young english talent.

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  • 100. At 3:01pm on 12 Nov 2008, Davey Bones wrote:

    Arsenal kids to conquer the world? Now I'm sure I've heard that before somewhere, oh that's right every year and yet every year the Arsenal trophy cabinet stays empty. Will the Arsenal supporters never learn? In the new year they'll all be going on about how unlucky they have been and that the referees have been so unfair to them.

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  • 101. At 3:04pm on 12 Nov 2008, Barry151 wrote:

    To post number 2 - thinking that Ramsey can help Wales turn the corner in World football. I wouldn't build your hopes up too much. If Ryan Giggs couldn't do it for you I wouldn't be too expectant of Ramsey, although I agree he will be a top player.

    Also, people saying Arsenal doesn't favour foreign talent that is not true because until now where he has a few potentially good players he has. The last few years there has been no sign of British talent at all in his side with the exception of Ashley Cole. So I wouldn't emphasize on AW building and molding the stars of the future England team. He will mainly look abroad for his players and just hope some young English come through the academy. There is a long way to go before we know if these kids will be good enough.

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  • 102. At 3:05pm on 12 Nov 2008, goonergetit wrote:

    England fielded 7 Arsenal players in an international game many years ago, still a record ? Will Wenger shape new England ? Theo Walcott. The olympic team will feature Aaron Ramsey for all those zenophobes, tell that to Platini and Blatter. Wenger is not shaping new England, he is shaping how team football can be played, it's about the energy, the team spirit, the desire with no mercanaries on board that suffer from falling in love with their own reflection. Any player can pass the ball into the net, it's getting the team to deliver, together. It's about continuity. I don't care what country benefits, I support the Gunners. Will Gerrard be sold to finance Torres ? Platini and Blatter are required to put a stop to the Never Never Credit, that will shape new England more than Wenger !

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  • 103. At 3:06pm on 12 Nov 2008, Inden22 wrote:

    acesizzy, there are a ton of other successful English players who came through the ranks at Arsenal including:
    Jerome Thomas
    James Harper
    Justin Hoyte
    Kerrea Gilbert
    Jermaine Pennant (originally Notts County)
    Jay Bothroyd
    David Noble
    Jamie O'Hara
    Richard Hughes
    Matthew Connolly
    Anthony Stokes

    They're all playing at Championship level or above which I would consider success. And now we've got the first crop of youngsters who've been training with the club since the age of 8 coming into the Reserves/Carling Cup side, many of whom will win caps or at the very least play in the top division.

    One point to remember in amongst all this is that Wenger has a strategic input into the Academy while the day to day running is handled by Liam Brady so if you want to accuse someone at Arsenal of not producing English talent then point the finger at Chippy.

    In reality Arsenal are desperate to produce world-class homegrown youngsters as they'll generate more money for the club in merchandising than any foreigner could. Just witness the adulation that Theo gets whenever he contributes as opposed to Niklas Bendtner.

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  • 104. At 3:07pm on 12 Nov 2008, West London Blues wrote:

    I don't understand a lot of you people.

    One week its Long live the good ol' 'typical' English game, WENGER OUT.

    Next week its long live Wenger and his proper, beautiful football based on technique and ballwork.

    England have and always will underachieve internationally unless it's emphasis on 'getting stuck in son,' effort, determination and physical, are condemned and looked down upon by fans and journalist's alike.

    Is it no wonder Wenger has turned away English 'footballers' in favour of foreigners?

    Wenger, his players and his philosophy must be given wide-spread protection from referees as well as fans all across the UK.

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  • 105. At 3:08pm on 12 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    Dear GunnersLover2007,

    Four made the step up last season did they?

    Three foreigners and a player that didn't come through the youth ranks.

    Nuff said.

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  • 106. At 3:10pm on 12 Nov 2008, goonergetit wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 107. At 3:10pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Boy Done Good wrote:

    post 89

    the article is about YOUNG english talent and how it is PRODUCED, not who is played in the premier league every week!

    lennon, woodgate -leeds
    jenas - forest
    huddlestone - derby
    bent- ipswich
    campbell - utd
    bale - saints
    gunter -cardiff
    hutton-rangers

    The only one you mentioned who came through the spurs academy is king.

    Although it is commendable that spurs have a number of english players in the team, this article is about producing young talent not buying it, so your argument is out of context (and probably fuelled by rivalry)

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  • 108. At 3:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, velatime08 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 109. At 3:12pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Professor wrote:

    I think what has to be remembered is that not all of these players are going to make it into Arsenal's first team. You shouldn't ignore what Wenger's doing, though, in terms of helping these lads form a career. How many ex-Arsenal youth players have dropped out of the game altogether in the past five years, compared to say Man Utd or Liverpool? The Premier League is filling up with ex-Arsenal players, which I think is a huge compliment to Wenger's policies.

    Of course Wenger's playing a numbers game - bring 11 through to the brink of the first team and hope that 4-5 can make the step up. At the end of the day, if only 2 can make the step up, and the remaining 9 find a career in football, where's the harm in that?

    I also get the feeling that Arsene is boxing clever with these kids - i.e. he's sensed some of our players will move on soon. My bet is on Fabregas. Why? It comes from this: If you have Wilshere in the ranks, with Diaby and Denilson in the first team, why purchase Ramsey? It only makes real sense if you think Fabregas is going to leave in 1-2 years. Then there's Adebayor - hence bringing Bendtner through. Vela is there, I feel, if Eduardo comes back but isn't the same player.

    So I guess the thing here is that their move into the first team depends on what the first team does - whether they stay or go.

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  • 110. At 3:13pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I have not stated that Arsene Wenger is the saviour of English football.

    I believe that it is worth pointing out, as a manager who has been criticised for holding English talent back, that he is now over-seeing an exciting crop of home-grown talent.

    What I would add is that I bet Fabio Capello is delighted that these exciting young English players are being guided by a manager and coach of Wenger's pedigree.

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  • 111. At 3:15pm on 12 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    Arsenal's first team squad consists of a whopping TWO english players and ONE welsh player, and out of those only ONE came through the youth academy.

    Wenger and Arsenal Suck. They're destroying the spirit of the game.

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  • 112. At 3:18pm on 12 Nov 2008, brightarsenalfan83 wrote:

    Ok, I'll begin with Bentley and Upson, 2 sulky lads who would ( at their time at Arsenal ) rather sit around with their bottom lips out and arms folded moaning about Wenger not picking them rather than working hard to get in the team. This is the REAL problem with young English players, think they are better than they really are and too egotistic.

    Bentley for 1 mugged himself for forcing his way out of the team, because within 1 year/18 months of his permanent transfer Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg all left, all roles he could have (and would have) occupied. Now hes at Spurs 3-4 years on after leaving and still nowhere near CL football.

    The short and tall of it is, Wenger does believe in english talent, but the fact is most of them get to that old age of 18-19 and think they know better than him. More fool them!!!

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  • 113. At 3:19pm on 12 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    Here's a question for you all.

    Since it is currently illegal to restrict the employment of EU qualified players then what's stopping England employing Ronaldo, Torres and Berbatov?

    Afterall, the FA pays their players therefore they are employed, therefore it would be illegal to stop Christiano Ronaldo from playing for England in the european championships.

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  • 114. At 3:19pm on 12 Nov 2008, BBC Sport wrote:

    Folks - because this blog is proving to be popular, the wait for your comments to come through is a little longer than normal. Please bear with us. Thanks.

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  • 115. At 3:21pm on 12 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Phil McNulty - BBC Sport wrote:

    I have not stated that Arsene Wenger is the saviour of English football.

    I believe that it is worth pointing out, as a manager who has been criticised for holding English talent back, that he is now over-seeing an exciting crop of home-grown talent.

    What I would add is that I bet Fabio Capello is delighted that these exciting young English players are being guided by a manager and coach of Wenger's pedigree.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Are you validating the criticism of Wenger by suggesting that praise is now due?

    Me, I think for Wenger's 'passports don't matter' mantra to be true then it must be coincidence that some of these are now English as opposed to foreign (which is what Welsh is in this discussion.)

    Finally, Capello may like their technical ability but he probably hopes that Wenger gives them some backbone this time around, as opposed to the somewhat spineless collection that got beaten by Stoke.

    You think a strong German team with players like Ballack won't refrain from getting stuck in when they have to? It is partly players like Ballack with their beauty and the best personalities that makes them the truly top of the pile players that they are.

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  • 116. At 3:22pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Very good point about the number of players under Wenger's guidance who have moved on to play for other clubs.

    It is not just about players coming through and playing for Arsenal. He has made a contribution by helping these players and passing on his philosophy and principles.

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  • 117. At 3:23pm on 12 Nov 2008, andymss wrote:

    At 12:56pm on 12 Nov 2008, Kapnag wrote:
    "We've heard this all before. Every year Arsenal's "young guns" blaze a trail in the league cup, and most if not all of them end up signing for Middlesboro 2 years later
    It is very boring"

    Hmmm, I can only think of Alliadiere and Hoyte but never mind please can Boro sign this Arsenal team now please, rather than in two years? Gareth, you got Arsene's number???

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  • 118. At 3:24pm on 12 Nov 2008, uttarar wrote:

    nick hornby, did you think ever dream of seeing this day?

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  • 119. At 3:25pm on 12 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Chelski wrote:

    Wenger, his players and his philosophy must be given wide-spread protection from referees as well as fans all across the UK.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Rubbish I would say. There are the rules that are known (?) to all. If they want different rules they can go and play a different game.

    I don't think 'meanies' are allowed to tackle in netball for example.

    Remember that footage of George Best being clubbed by 'Chopper' Harris but still going on to score? The Arsenal lightweights can only dream of this.

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  • 120. At 3:28pm on 12 Nov 2008, Bamber Boozler wrote:

    Post Number 101 (Barry151),

    I didn't say that Ramsey and Ramsey alone would help us turn the corner in World football.

    I said that he will be an integral part in us doing so. I will list a potential squad and you have to admit it is one of the best squads we have had available in a long, long time. Giggs alone couldnt, but I believe that we have a very talented crop of players at our disposal now.

    Goalkeepers:

    Wayne Hennesey,
    Boaz Myhill,
    Lewis Price.

    Defenders:

    Gareth Bale,
    Chris Gunter,
    James Collins,
    Daniel Gabbidon,
    Lewin Nyatanga,
    Neal Eardley,
    Ashley Williams,
    Rhys Williams,
    Rhoys Wiggins.

    Midfielders:

    Jason Koumas,
    Joe Ledley,
    Aaron Ramsey,
    Simon Davies,
    David Edwards,
    Jack Collison,
    Darcy Blake,
    Andy King.

    Forwards:

    Craig Bellamy,
    Freddy Eastwood,
    Ched Evans,
    Sam Vokes.

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  • 121. At 3:29pm on 12 Nov 2008, D R Daykin wrote:

    I think #58 has got this spot on. A lot of these player will get the chance, if they have enough patience and self-belief.

    I think every one of those players will be plying his trade in the Premier League on a regular basis in the future, the question is how many will still be at Arsenal?

    I think Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere are all special talents that will certainly make the grade. Of the others I'd say Fabianski, Song, Simpson and maybe Gibbs have a possible long-term future at the club.

    The rest may find themselves plying their trade at 'Boro or Portsmouth or somewhere, but that's still not such a bad thing. Like Mr. McNulty pointed out they will be better players for their Arsenal education.

    While we're mentioning quality youth academies/policies I'd like to throw Forest's name into the hat.

    Jermaine Jenas
    Michael Dawson
    Andy Reid
    Roy Keane
    Martin O'Neill
    Steve Stone
    Des Walker
    Steve Hodge
    Nigel Clough

    There's plenty of others, not as impressive as West Ham's list but still pretty good. All are/were full internationals with the exception of Dawson.

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  • 122. At 3:29pm on 12 Nov 2008, ILoveTheNHS wrote:

    I agree with Phil. I've always felt Wenger's been given undeserved criticism when it comes to giving young English players their chance.

    Over the years, he shown with the likes of Cole, Richard Wright, Hoyte, Walcott, Bentley, Pennant, Upson and others that he's willing to give young players who have come through the youth system their chance when he feels they're good enough and is also willing to spend money on young English players when he feels they're good enough and worth the money.

    He was also interested in Dean Ashton a few seasons ago but Crewe had a deal with Liverpool and was interested in Wright Phillips but not at £21m at the time. I'm sure there are plenty of others too.

    From the current crop, Jack Wilshere is a star in the making. A natural footballer who, if he stays focussed, will be an Arsenal and England regular.

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  • 123. At 3:41pm on 12 Nov 2008, capriconcsv wrote:

    The fact that there are few english youngsters in the Arsenal team is only coincidental. Wenger has been at Arsenal for 12 years. How many of his ex youngsters are now playing in the national team. The answer is none. If the previous 12 years produced very little why should I believe that that the next 5 years will be better. So please do not promote the idea that Wenger has any interest in promoting english players . Arsenal youngsters are an exciting bunch but this very fact sometimes works against Arsenal's overall interest. They beat Man City two years ago and Blackburn last year. These results bolster Wenger's egoistical stance on transfers. The youngster overperform in the few games the opportunity is given to them. The same cannot be said when their given games in the League . Fabergas is a big plus in this issue , but Bentner is a minus & Denilson is not a Flamini. Had Wenger replaced Flamini with a proven performer Arsenal would have probably sitting at the top of the table now. The youngsters can offer hope , and hope is often an instrument to justifice present failures

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  • 124. At 3:44pm on 12 Nov 2008, BognorRock wrote:

    Phil, Whilst I agree that Wenger has not stunted English Football, and that he obviously has no obligation to play any English players, whats always bothered me is the number of very average foreign players (Cygan, Almunia, Senderos, Vivas etc) that he seems to favour over young english ones (Upson, Taylor, Pennant, Bentley etc).

    Possibly he prefers foreigners due to the increased pressure and press attention that seems to exist with English players.

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  • 125. At 3:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    re my post 115

    The bit about Germany means on the international stage that Capello deals with and of course I mean beauty and beast when talking about the example of Ballack.

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  • 126. At 3:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, sweetsmellofsuccess wrote:

    Oh dear, here we go again.

    Wenger's youngsters win a couple of games, and somehow he's a genius and we should all be forever grateful. A little perspective, please.

    In the past five years Arsenal have produced some good-looking young teams in a meaningless trophy - which they haven't won. The senior team has won one trophy in five years, by sticking ten men behind the ball and holding on for penalties. Which bit of that screams 'genius' or 'messiah'?

    When Man U produced a crop of youngsters, they actually won something. To be precise, five Premierships, a Champions' League, and an FA Cup, in six seasons.

    Man U continue to play many of the players they developed - Giggs, Scoles, Neville, Brown, O Shea, Fletcher. They have a number of players they bought as teenagers (like Arsenal did with Ramsey) - Rooney, Ronaldo, Nani. Again, they've actually won something (the double last year, two Premierships in a row).

    Producing a youth side that looks pretty and doesn't win anything (either as a young team or in the seniors) is a limited success. Wenger has won trophies buying excellent young French-speaking talent, thanks to his scouting network there. But he has yet to prove he can build a winning side through his own youth system.

    Still, London-based journalists who find Chelski boring, need an outlet, eh? Why not big-up an entertaining but unsuccessful team, and imply that everyone else is a bunch of unimaginative clunkers?

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  • 127. At 3:47pm on 12 Nov 2008, Gooner_8_legend wrote:

    Great article
    I don't know why everyone always use to have a go at wenger anyway.
    He simply gets the BEST players for the BEST price.
    Usually foriegn players are better technically and ALOT CHEAPER.
    Look at Ferdinand a great defender but 30 million thats alot.
    Sagna cost us 6 million and he's probably one of the best right backs in the world at the moment.
    Always trust Wengers judgement without him we would be a mid table team.

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  • 128. At 3:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, crash wrote:

    England have and always will underachieve internationally unless it's emphasis on 'getting stuck in son,' effort, determination and physical, are condemned and looked down upon by fans and journalist's alike.'

    sorry, thats bs. portugal, argentina, france. all have failed in tournaments they were favorites in because they had no ball to win the game. england dont have inferior chracteristics, they have different ones which can bring about a different result.

    as for wenger...nice youngsters, but all around england there are good youngsters who are begging to be released on the carling cup, i kid you not. liverpol, man u, chelsea also have youngsters who can impact on the international stage. as do man city and west ham from what i can see. well see in time who grows to become the best. cant exactly write off those at arsenal though can you?

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  • 129. At 3:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    And so the debate still rumbles about AW and his contribution to the England side and English Football in general.

    Firstly, as if anyone should really need reminding, Mr Wenger is not employed by England! he was never employed to work for the England National Squad, he was in fact employed by The Arsenal to work for The Arsenal and it is them who pay him so handsomly to do so as well. Therefore Mr Wengers main proirities are working for the good of Arsenal.

    However judgeing from last nights game and the previous CC exploits against SU Mr Wenger is infact contributing to English Football, but in HIS WAY!! he will not be dictated to by anyone as to how he should go about the task he does at The Arsenal and rightly SO!!. Morover, there is a considerable trade off taking place if only a lot of you muppets banging on about the lack of english players at Arsenal could see beyond the narrow horizons many of you operate under and look to.

    Foreign players on these shores are indeed to Englands advantage! no more nasty surprises when we play against thier national sides, as they have spent there time in the PL playing Football in england, not in their native countries, no more being taken a back by the skill levels of the Continentals and thus being shown up as technicly inept. Our national team players will know these players inside out ( or should do if they have an ounce of brain ) and when pitted against them will know their weakness and strengths etc etc.

    But what was seen last night was a crop of players who could one day play for England and be very good it seems as well. No wonder Cappello was there, however his style of management is different to that of AW and he would only stifle the youngsters, into playing a defensive game, not allowed to express themseleves etc etc, in other words Cappello has boreing written all over his face.

    The winning of Silverware:

    It could well be Arsenal may well end up empty handed again, though I am of the view this will not be the case come the day of reckoning, which is MAY!! not November or December, those Arsenal supporters who have been crowing for AW to go need to really take a pause and look beyond shortermism ( a nasty trait in the UK imported from the USA ) this view achieves naff all in the long term. You either stay the course or naff of to Chelsea, man u if u crave instant success via spending.

    There has been very big changes at Arsenal and AW has been at the helm to oversee them, he has contributed a great deal to football in england the profile of the game etc etc, there is not a guy out there that would take on what he has accepted to do yes he has his faults ( but dont we ALL ) but all those associated with Arsenal, and no i dont mean the recent yuppys who can afford the hospitality etc who are now on board should regognise we are indeed lucky to have him! and as i say if you dont like him or what is going on at The Arsenal at the mo, then naff off and buy another kit to parade to your buddys in Withersppons or Local park.

    We have seen the past two days two managers graciously accepting just what AW is doing. S Bruce has to be commended for his post match comments, and Wigan also must be commended, they played the game, they contributed to a great game, on the night it did not go for Wigan, it wont always be so, Arsenal no matter what team we put out will not always WIN! and we must accept that. I honestly liked Bruces admiisions were he mentions the cups are his sides only chance of silverware ( at the mo ) he fielded a good side and his players did not boot the living daylights out of the youngsters they were up against. In praising The Arsenal we have to Commend Wigan, the Players, and thier manager for that.

    I would say to AW carry on regardless! many of us are 100% behind you and are gratefull to have you as our Boss!.

    To all the Gunners 1st 11 and others I wish you all the best in the comming weeks, you can but try! if you do that no one can have any complaints at all. Show them what u can do!

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  • 130. At 3:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, Clarence Cash wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 131. At 3:49pm on 12 Nov 2008, cantoffee wrote:

    Thought I'd get a mention in about my club Everton. No we haven't produced too much but recently obviously we had Rooney, James Vaughn is a great talent if he can only get healthy, and with Jack Rodwell, Jose Baxter and John-Paul Kissock coming through you could see a very talented group of players in a couple years.

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  • 132. At 3:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, Perryashburtongroves wrote:

    Arsenal to resuce England. Oh, the irony! Where has your xenophobic, hate-filled racist abuse gone?

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  • 133. At 3:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, MatTheGunner wrote:

    Thanks Phil for a very good and accurate blog. Anyone who disagrees with it is either jealous of Arsenal's potential future or clearly doesn't understand football;-)

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  • 134. At 3:52pm on 12 Nov 2008, DrDudeface wrote:

    There are some very bitter people on here.
    I thought this was a very good and accurate blog. We should all be happy that arsenal are producing possible future england players.

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  • 135. At 3:55pm on 12 Nov 2008, Count Zero wrote:

    I can certainly see the like of Vela, Whilshire and Ramsy having a future, with the others it will be hard to tell. Gibbs for instance looks good but he has Clichy (who seems like a gunner for life) and Traore there for the left back. or perhaps AW sees him as a Future winger and is playing him at left back just to improve his defensive skills.

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  • 136. At 4:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, all_about_gunner wrote:

    Post 110,

    Good post Phil, i guess this should silence critics.

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  • 137. At 4:01pm on 12 Nov 2008, oo_2_be_a_gooner wrote:

    Bentley and Upson are often cited as examples of English players failing to be given a chance at Arsenal. However when looking into the circumstances of their departures from the club, it is not difficult to see Wenger's willingness to let them go.

    Firstly Bentley was on the edge of, in my opinion, the greatest side this country has ever seen. He was an attacking midfielder/forward at the time, when our first team wa sin the process of going unbeaten for 49 games. To break into the first team he would have need to dislodge one of, Henry, Bergkamp, Pires or Lungberg, who were all in the form of their lives.

    Upson was behind experienced centre half's such as Keown, Campbell, Bould and Adams for much of his Arsenal career, however did enjoy a run in our first team in the double winning year of 2002, winning a premiership medal. However he unfortunately suffered a broken leg at the end of the campaign, forcing Wenger to look elsewhere, and discovering the fine form of Kolo Toure.

    Wenger is never one to keep a player against his will, and quite simply, neither Upson, nor Bentley would have broken into the Arsenal team for at least another couple of years.

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  • 138. At 4:02pm on 12 Nov 2008, AvikXT wrote:

    Great Article.I think there is no doubt in anyones mind that future looks good for arsenal.But what about their present.Are they tittke contenders.Yes they have beaten ManU but they already lag 6 points behind leaders.And teams like Chelsea, ManU and Liverpool they also have exceptional talents in their youth settings.So where does that lead arsenal.If they can not win any big trophy this season or in the next season.I
    I honestly think u need some experience to win the league or the champions league.But mr wenger for some reason does not like any experienced player.Thats why he didnt buy a experienced central midfielder or even a central defender in the summer.

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  • 139. At 4:03pm on 12 Nov 2008, johnny2sprouts wrote:

    Why in football do people refer to players and teams as 'frightening'? I'm not frightened of Jack Wilshire or anyone else this ridiculous use of language is attributed to. In terms of Arsenal's youngsters, they are fantastic but I think there's a long way to go for a lot of them before they are a genuine force. Last season's Carling Cup semi final is a prime example of what can happen. Whilst I appreciate that this is a different team other than really Fabianski there are lessons they could learn from it. Let's see how they react when they concede first or get a couple of the bad decisions that Wenger seems to think come Arsenal's way every week. And I suppose it's too much to ask that when they do lose they manage to do it with a little more grace than their older, and some might say wiser clubmates like Fabregas and Gallas. The fact that they are nearer to age where they might actually have a teddy to chuck out of the pram does not bode well.

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  • 140. At 4:03pm on 12 Nov 2008, roy-keane-ate-my-cat wrote:

    I should think it no accident that young Wilshere is likened to Liam Brady. We should not forget that it is Brady perhaps more than Wenger who has had the greater influence on the emergence of this outstanding bunch. We should not underestimate his outstanding contribution to Arsenal youth over the years.

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  • 141. At 4:03pm on 12 Nov 2008, gary2910 wrote:

    @ #89. Your comments are true, there is a great number of young talent at Spurs, though how many of them came through their youth ranks?

    Dawson, Jenas (Forest), Woodgate, Lennon (Leeds), Huddlestone (Derby) Gunter (Cardiff) etc etc

    Tony Adams put it best when he said that we live in a here and now enviroment in football management, most clubs dont have the time to nurture their young talent to bring through and results dictate their outcome. How many other clubs would have given the time required by Arsene Wenger to build that side? Spurs gave 12 months to Ramos, who is an exceptional manager and will come back and haunt them one day with another club.

    The one point i disagree about is Alan Hutton, he was at fault for 2 of the goals against Arsenal and is as big a liability as Steve Finnan was at Liverpool. (watch replays of games where Liverpool lost goals and see who was at fault)

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  • 142. At 4:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, Steve wrote:

    Exciting times ahead for England, and English players alike.

    Capello has got our team playing football rather than hoof-ball or pathetic-ball, and with these classy youngsters on display he's got good choice for the future.

    There's also Bostock from Spurs, an exciting young prospect.

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  • 143. At 4:16pm on 12 Nov 2008, mastermesmerize wrote:

    It's high time Arsenal did something for the England team.

    They have been disgraceful over the Wenger term in charge.

    Pronouncing their names has been fun for commentators.

    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for these lads to mature unless of course you see them on loan or sold to other clubs. Like so many Arsenal players before them.

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  • 144. At 4:16pm on 12 Nov 2008, DougCoglan wrote:

    Ramsey, Wilshere and Vela were the standout performers.

    I was very impressed with how the whole team got physically involved. Not any attitude out there at all - it was all teamwork.

    Wenger invested wisely in Ramsey who will prove to be a better signing that Walcott. Excellent player.

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  • 145. At 4:16pm on 12 Nov 2008, Tina wrote:

    Kingkightly, footballandethics .... why do spurs fans feel the need to post ridiculous and ludicrous comments? You are clearly envious and bitter about your inferior team in North London.

    I have not jumped on the 'get rid of Arsene' bandwagon, the guy is a gift to Arsenal and I am grateful we have had his service for so many years. His talent for discovering youngsters is outstanding and after last night's game, I'm excited for our future and for England's future ... now let's hear the end of those rival fans who like to tell us that we don't have any English players.

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  • 146. At 4:19pm on 12 Nov 2008, Iain Dyer wrote:

    only when the core of this team wins major club honours like the fergie fledglings did at man utd can you even contemplate how good they are, sure they are playing well now when theres no real pressure, they win then there the next big english hope in 5 years but lose and its a case of "oh well, there only young!!"

    if arsenal cant fair to well in europe with there first teamers then why dont they take the risk on some of these young lads, fergie wasnt scared to put his kids in in 1995-96 to replace great players like hughes and ince. he bought the nevilles,scholes,beckham and butt through virtually all at the same time. not to mention giggs and sharpe before them(granted, he paid for sharpe but he was a raw player when we signed him).

    until arene wenger decided he has proper faith in these players week in week out then we will never know but i can see this all blowing up in his face and possibly only wiltshire, vela(who has a lot of experience so shouldnt count in my opinion)and ramsey (who didnt he pay 5m for, not an arsenal created player then) making the grade and not even neccesairily at arsenal either!!!

    maybe ill be proven wrong but i doubt it very much.......................

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  • 147. At 4:21pm on 12 Nov 2008, Dogster_2608 wrote:

    Phil,

    Further to your comment #60, as a Chelsea fan, we have had some good talent coming through but haven't given them a good enough chance.

    Firstly Jack Cork was tipped for greatness, but keeps getting shipped out to the likes of Wycombe, Michael Mancienne has the ability to become very good but again is not getting the opportunity, Michael Woods (bought from Leeds) is a fantastic talent but yet again is not getting the chances needed to develop him, Ryan Bertrand, looks very promising..... etc

    I could go on and on but it doesn't change the fact that there is not enough English talent coming through the ranks.... so for that i do take my hat off to Arsene Wenger, and the West Ham Acadamy because they are doing some fantastic work developing british youngsters.

    I thought the blog was very enlightening. Keep up the good work.

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  • 148. At 4:25pm on 12 Nov 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    UnbeatablePinkFlloyd - comment 129.

    I summed up your main points in post #50. But nobody noticed :(

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  • 149. At 4:26pm on 12 Nov 2008, ilokid wrote:

    I watched in awe and admiration as the Arsenal 'youth team' beat the seasoned veterans of Wigan. Given that Wigan played, for the most part, that they are destined to play Championship football next year, isn't it about time that Wenger gave some of these young players opportunities in the senior side? the quality of their football notwithstanding, their desire, commitment and enthusiasm is something that has not been consistently in view from Wenger's foreign players.

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  • 150. At 4:27pm on 12 Nov 2008, Red_Red_Devil wrote:

    No question that Wenger is producing some exciting talent. The problem for Wenger is that unless he starts producing winning teams, a lot of these players will look to teams where they have a chance to win trophies.

    Wenger and the Arsenal board have accept that they don't live in a bubble and to have a chance of winning, they have to keep their best players (Flamini, Hleb, Fabregas). How much longer will Fabregas stay, if Arsenal don't start winning? If it means changing the wage structure to keep the likes of Flamini or spending 25 million on a player, then that should be done.

    If these things aren't changed, then we'll see the same narrative from Wenger and Arsenal year after year - special young talent, beautiful football and nothing in the trophy cabinet.

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  • 151. At 4:28pm on 12 Nov 2008, Tafarrell23 wrote:

    I still say that these youngsters will mostly play for a 5-10th placed team in the league. We have heard about all the talent that Arsenal has but I have seen the same at United. The Guisseppe Rossis and the Gerard Piques are examples. They are delivering at Champions League teams but just couldn't break into the first team. It seems that talent will always rise but I don't think it is prudent to assume that these youngsters are any better than the ones say at Westham or Man City. All they have is the opportunity to prove themselves. Genuine stars tend to start playing for big teams at 17 or 18 and even their national teams. Owen, Rooney, Ronaldo, Fabregas even Anderson and Walcott. The rest will not make it internationally and will only be given a few caps. There are the Micah Richards of the world who I think will have more of chance to make England. If they are not in the first team and playing 15 matches a season by 19 then I just don't see how they will be playing for a big nation later. Look at England's team and look at just how many of the players there right now were playing first team regularly by 19. Rio played 15 games for WH at 18. John Terry played 22 games for Chelsea at 19. A Cole played 24 games for arsenal at 19. Beckham played 33 games for Man U at 19. Gerrard played 13 games for Liverpool at 18. Lampard played 13 games for WH at 18. Wayne Rooney played 33 games for EV at 16. The list goes on but the players reaching 20 have very little chance of making it imho

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  • 152. At 4:31pm on 12 Nov 2008, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    Arsenal's youth team would have struggled against Wigan if Bruce had used the same tactics that he would have against the regulars. Wigan thought that they could win a football match against the youngsters, and tried to play their natural game. When they come up against the first team, they play harder, more defensively and concentrate on frustrating Arsenal. Only time will tell if these players have the quality to unhinge a determined defence.

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  • 153. At 4:33pm on 12 Nov 2008, Celts_R_Here wrote:

    Good blog Phil - some good points!!

    I think that Arsene has done a truely great job in nurturing the young players regardless of nationality, however, I cannot understand the Gunners that stand by David Bentley, Matt Upson etc in the row over them being released or moved on due to them being English. They were moved on because, simply, they are not good enough for a team of Arsenals standard. Bentley has came on leaps and bounds in recent years but plying his trade at Spurs nowadays shows that he has not grown to be a player that has the calibre required at The Emirates. He is the classic Big Fish in the Small pond player and has yet to prove his worth at Spurs. Upson, yes - good player but agin not Arsenal class. Would he get a game at Man Utd or Chelsea???? No. That is the level Arsenal have to aim at and at the moment neither Upson or Bentley have showed that kind of quality.

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  • 154. At 4:34pm on 12 Nov 2008, SucramVilla wrote:

    While we're on the subject can anyone look past Villa to see the team producing young English talent who unlike Arsenal's babes are ready for England duty now? I refer of course to Agbonlahor, Young, Reo-Coker, Milner.

    Ps if you want some 'babes' check out Delfounesco, Davies, Gardener and Osbourne... the future's bright... the future's Villa!

    Who needs Wenger when you have O'Neil?!!

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  • 155. At 4:35pm on 12 Nov 2008, stroma88 wrote:

    As a ManU fan I would like to congratulate
    Arsene Wenger for bringing on so many Young players, particularly the British ones.
    SAF did the same with Beckham Neville G. and P, Butt, Giggs, etc and look what they did.
    ManU also have some new young bloods now. It`s the only way to go.

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  • 156. At 4:39pm on 12 Nov 2008, stroma88 wrote:

    As a ManU fan I would like to congratulate
    Arsene Wenger for bringing on so many Young players, particularly the British ones.
    SAF did the same with Beckham Neville G. and P, Butt, Giggs, etc and look what they did.
    ManU also have some new young bloods now. It`s the only way to go.

    How could I have forgotten the incomparable Scholes

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  • 157. At 4:40pm on 12 Nov 2008, varsas wrote:

    @ capriconcsv:

    The fact that there are few english youngsters in the Arsenal team is only coincidental. Wenger has been at Arsenal for 12 years. How many of his ex youngsters are now playing in the national team. The answer is none. If the previous 12 years produced very little why should I believe that that the next 5 years will be better.

    ===================================

    It seems that you have forgotten about David Bentley, Matthew Upson and Ashley Cole?

    Given the academy was reorganised when AW joined the club it makes sense that only now will we see the fruits of that system with players starting out at the age of 8 or 9.

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  • 158. At 4:40pm on 12 Nov 2008, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    #126, yes SAF won a lot with an exceptional crop of youngsters, but that was a different era which is now drawing to a close. The early premiership titles were won with far fewer points than recent ones, mainly due to the fact that the big teams are by far better now than they were 10-15 years ago.

    The likes of Brown, Fletcher and O' Shea are not near the same quality of Giggs, Scholes, or Keane, and the present success of Man Utd has little to nothing to do with their youth system and a lot to do with buying in expensive talent (Rooney, Ferdinand, Tevez et al.)

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  • 159. At 4:42pm on 12 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    Dear GUNN3R1971,

    I'm not a Spurs fan, far from it, but at least Tottenham buy british and from the lower leagues too.

    Wenger and Arsenal's buying-of-foreign-youths policy is a disgrace.

    Wenger should be ejected from the country.

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  • 160. At 4:44pm on 12 Nov 2008, redarsenal4champions wrote:

    put ramsey with fabregas in the centre an vela up top with with diaby. nasri left an walcott right for home games. when away have 5 in middle with vela up top

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  • 161. At 4:45pm on 12 Nov 2008, Tribesman wrote:

    How the wheel turns, its only a year or two ago that Wenger was the enemy of english football and was destroying it by fielding foreigners. The people who thought this were so shortsighted and basically too lazy to research what Wenger was doing at Arsenal. This is the generation he has moulded since some were 8 or 9 and is now coming to fruition. People should think and have some basis to their xenophobic comments before they believe people like Alan Pardew, who is currently struggling in the championship. What will he ever give to english football, wenger has already given many players and this next generation will be special.

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  • 162. At 4:46pm on 12 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    cov1985:

    apologies my good fellow I did manage to read quite a few of the previous entries, there are so many its hard to keep track lol.

    and yes i accept i have perhaps stated nothing new etc but my mian aim so to speak was to show support for AW as i have done since he became boss.

    i can recall one headline which went

    " Arsene Who "

    well he sure answered that question very emphaticly as well.

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  • 163. At 4:46pm on 12 Nov 2008, Lee wrote:

    Sorry i didn't have time to read the article i'm just commenting on the title. How on earth will Wenger shape the England team when he has only 1 England player in his starting 11 and he wasn't even a player they bought up through their academy. Players such as Hoyte, Traore and Bentley are examples of what happens to these players once they make the step up into the first team. Wiltshere looks like the exception to this rule but the other promising players in the team that played last night vela and ramsey are not even English.

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  • 164. At 4:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, Money wrote:

    Wenger amazes me
    I think Ramsey could e better than giggsy

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  • 165. At 4:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, McEwanwhosarmy wrote:

    As far as Scotland goes Rangers and Celtic have just recently opened academies with the first notable names emerging from them as Maloney, Mcgeady, Hutton and McGregor. hibs are the team that give the young players the chance and have notable players gone on to represent Scotland such as brown, Thomson, riordan and o'connor. Like what wenger seems to be doing and mabe we will get british players with similar technique and skill 2 the foreigners.

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  • 166. At 4:52pm on 12 Nov 2008, woodsy1977 wrote:

    As a liverpool fan I am worried. Everytime the press get on the back of Wenger and tell him he doesn't know what he is doing (usually after losing a few games on the road) he comes back the following season and sweeps all before him. It appears that once again he has found the young talent and nurtured it and they could be a truly frightening prospect in the coming years if they all develope according to plan. I just ask myself, when Liverpool will reap such rewards from their youth program and when will other clubs in the premiership follow the lead that Arsenal has set, instead of constantly trying to buy success.

    By the way Phil, Arsene might not throw the youngsters in the EPL this season but he might do it next year and I would be careful about writing off teams who are full of young players. I think Mr Hansen is still trying to live down his confident assertion that Man Utd couldn't win anything with kids.

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  • 167. At 4:53pm on 12 Nov 2008, varsas wrote:

    @KingKightly wrote:

    Wenger and Arsenal's buying-of-foreign-youths policy is a disgrace.

    ===================================

    I guess you must want most of the clubs in the Premier League to be ejected from competition since they all buy in foreign youth players.

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  • 168. At 4:55pm on 12 Nov 2008, cov1985 wrote:

    162. UnbeatablePinkFlloyd

    No worries, was merely pointing out that I agreed with your point of view. Although you perhaps explained it a bit more articulatley than I did!

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  • 169. At 4:57pm on 12 Nov 2008, Tribesman wrote:

    interesting to read through some obviously bitter and jealous posts, as usual, spot the spurs fan or man u one. As for David Bentley, he is ridiculously over hyped as he was all summer by spurs fans, if he was good enough he'd still be at Arsenal, he wasn't, pure and simple.

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  • 170. At 4:58pm on 12 Nov 2008, badgerman69 wrote:

    Why am I getting the message: "Your comment contains some HTML that has been mistyped. Data at the root level is invalid on line1".

    I'm just typing words not trying to do anything fancy?

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  • 171. At 4:58pm on 12 Nov 2008, Samwell2804 wrote:

    Great Article Phil, its created a nice healthy debate to help pass my working day, haha

    its nice to see all the debate raging over whos acadamy best and has produced the most players, i think to be fair that all the top teams have produced their fair share of players for the british sides over recent times, at the end of the day tho does it realyy matter??? all the top teams poach the lower teams talent anyway.

    on the Mr Wenger front, dont vilify me for this as it is my opinion, i do feel that in the past he has maybe just slightly, only very slightyly preferrd his foreigners, as i think for a while he saw his English players as troublesome players, but maybe this was because they were annoyd at the amount of foreigners and felt like the minority in their own club, plus the 'rumourd' foreign team talks in french, not that i believe that to be true, or maybe just because they had bad attitudes, but it does seem of late that hes taking more english players on and nurturing them(which is a great thing give the technique of most of the arsenal players), but is this because he knows of the impending FIFA ruling coming in regarding having so many english/british homegrown players and so many coached within the country for so long????

    but i still believe that Wener is highly professional and if the players were good enough then he would of given them their chance, of which i believe Bentley would of been, he could of been even better under more of Wengers guidance.

    in regards to one of the previous posts

    I Totally Agree that Arsene needs to instill a backbone and a fighting spirit in to his players to stop them getting rolled over so easily by physical teams, as u very rarely see the likes of Man Utd or Chelsea being kicked off the park as they seem more able to handle it.
    but if these english/british players come thru then they might have the backbone needed with the typical english grit and determination.

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  • 172. At 4:59pm on 12 Nov 2008, Tina wrote:

    Kingkightly... fair enough you're not a tottenham fan, but you do post ridiculous statements.

    "Wenger and Arsenal's buying-of-foreign-youths policy is a disgrace".... isn't that what this whole article is about? The fact that your youth last night was made up of English players? So I rest my case there regards ridiculous statements.

    As for the "Wenger should be ejected from the country" .... that I don't deem worthwhile commenting on.

    oh and comparing tottenham and Arsenal's recruitment policy is a complete waste of time. Arsenal compete in the Champions League and tottenham aren't anywhere near that class.

    Step up if you like and admit to which team you support....

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  • 173. At 5:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    I have not stated that Arsene Wenger is the saviour of English football.

    ===========

    Blog title: Could Wenger shape new England?


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  • 174. At 5:00pm on 12 Nov 2008, Red_Red_Devil wrote:

    164. At 4:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, 77pence wrote:
    Wenger amazes me
    I think Ramsey could e better than giggsy
    ----------------------------------------------------

    Ramsey has been at Arsenal for all of 5 months. Before he went to Arsenal we was tracked by a number of Premiership clubs. Don't forget that Fergie put in a bid for him before Wenger did.

    He was an outstanding talent before he got to Arsenal. The credit should go to Cardiff, not Wenger or Arsenal.

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  • 175. At 5:04pm on 12 Nov 2008, BRAND-0 wrote:

    How many from Arsenal's youth set up have become Arsenal players? Walcott is not a product of Arsenal - he was bought. It will be the same story with this lot too - they always have had good young players at Arsenal, but it means little, apart from when they cash in. Will they win the cup? Who cares?

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  • 176. At 5:07pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mjkt42w wrote:

    I completely agree with one comment. Hopefully they won't want too much too fast. Walcott bided his time, and eventually became a regular. Wenger is the best man for them, they should trust his judgement. If they are patient, and bide their time when it looks like they might not get in they will eventually establish their place in the team, the best example being Clichy!

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  • 177. At 5:09pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mjkt42w wrote:

    And by the way, I thought Ramsey was exceptional yesterday, and should be in ahead of Denilson. He has always impressed me and he has a bit of bite and drive about his game which arsenal lack. He actually reminds me quite a lot of gerrard.. all action, can do everything and could well dominate the middle of the park

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  • 178. At 5:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, Gunneralowe wrote:

    Robbieo79 - are you Bentley's boyfriend by any chance?

    Or let me guess - a spurs fan!!!

    Bentley will never be more than an average premiership player, a prancing pony who thinks he's much better than he really is!

    Wilshire, on the other hand, IS the real deal?!

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  • 179. At 5:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, langboyred wrote:

    121. Great point about the Forest academy, was just about to post that myself. I would also like to add Shaun Wright-Phillips and Tom Huddlestone to that list, both of whom left before signing professional contracts at the City Ground.

    One point I'd like to raise about Wenger and these youngsters is that its not just that they are performing so well and beating established teams that's so impressive but also the style in which they play. Each and every one of them is technically excellent and so comfortable on the ball. The criticism of the English national team and English football in general over the years has been that the focus is on physical attributes (highlighted by the fact that SWP was released for being 'too small') and that English players don't make the step up to international level because they cannot pass the ball well enough and keep possession. Well this is certainly not the case at Arsenal. The footballing culture of pass and move that Wenger has managed to instill at all levels at Arsenal is truly commendable. I was having a conversation with my Dad last night about the fact that they hadn't won anything since 2005 but we both agreed that it doesn't matter because the football that they play is worth paying money for every day of the week in my opinion. Long may it continue.

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  • 180. At 5:14pm on 12 Nov 2008, bballchris wrote:

    Predictable beeb article you watch one game and praise one of the big 4s teams after a great display. Yet citys youth team won the FA youth cup and you didnt go in depth onto the homeborn prospects on our team.

    I watched arsenal youth vs manchester united youth last year and arsenal were weak and threw the game away. Mind you it was a good game, but I also watched citys youth team play last season and they have far more quality than either uniteds youth team or arsenal youth team the few times I have seen them.

    Maybe you should watch more games and you would form an accurate decision, 2 games doesnt make you good. You numpties at the bbc wouldnt know that though.

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  • 181. At 5:14pm on 12 Nov 2008, red_fab_fred wrote:

    And the man who can shape some of the key components of England's next generation is a manager who has been wrongly accused of ignoring home-grown talent in favour of polishing gems found on foreign soil.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Sorry Phil but i don't inderstand how he has been wrongly accused of, as you so put it ignoring homegrown' talent.

    The managed to polish the talents of Petit, Henry and Viera admittedly they were not youth players but were certainly players that lourished under his tutelage.

    It has taken wenger 12 years in the english game to find some english talent to nurture? West Ham have been doing it for years so i don't get your point.

    I point to J Cole, Lampard, Carrick, Ferdinand and Defoe and guess what? They are all in the England squad spme of the named above are rated as the best in their position in the world.

    At most maybe 50 players from the Prem get to play in the Champions league every season. Arsenal have managed to qualify consistently for many years now but the number of English men that have played in it for Arsenal is probably less than 10 (i maybe wrong).

    These youngster have had the opportunity to play without fear of the result so far which is an altogether different game.

    As for being England players lets wait until they discover cars, WAGS, gambling, clubs, drink, money and agents. These are the biggest tests of a modern football. The one thing that Wenger cannot do is take the Englishness out of these people.

    I have never seen a picture of Fabregas leaving a club, but how many times have we seen Rooney doing that.

    They need to be a group of Paul Scholes' not a group of Beckhams, but i can assure you that they will aspire to be the latter and that comes with many pit falls.

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  • 182. At 5:17pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    there are a couple of things that grate about this blog.

    the first is the idea presented that Wenger, the potential saviour of English football apparently, has always judged players on talent rather than passport. Now personally i don't believe for a second that reality actually backs such a claim up. But even if his endless influx of foreign players is mere coincidence, how on earth can anybody explain the signings of Manninger, Grimandi, Stepanovs and all the rest of the journeymen he was/is obsessed with?

    secondly, and this is pertinent i believe, Wenger's young sides of the last couple of years have indeed been exceptional. However, they lost in the League Cup at Old Trafford (predictably spitefully), and they lost in the FA Cup at Old Trafford (even more spitefully.) Now whilst admittedly those were teams mixed with a sprinkling of older heads on both sides, the fact is that when the youth teams of Arsenal and Manchester United met in the Youth Cup semi final the season before last it was United's brilliant young players that came out on top after two high class football matches, not Arsenal's.



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  • 183. At 5:18pm on 12 Nov 2008, RadebeRaver88 wrote:

    Leeds have produced some amazing players over the yrs. If you include 40yrs making that 68 like the west ham fan then u wont beat leeds list.
    Billy Bremner
    Peter Lorimer
    John Charles
    Eddie Gray
    Norman Hunter
    Jack Charlton
    Paul Madeley
    Albert Johanneson
    Terry Cooper
    Paul Reaney
    Terry Yorath
    John Sheridan
    David Seaman
    Denis Irwin
    David Batty
    Gary Speed
    Gary Kelly
    Ian Harte
    Stephen McPhail
    Harry Kewell
    Alan Smith
    Paul Robinson
    Jonathon Woodgate
    Aaron Lennon
    James Milner

    All apart from Milner have been capped, but he will join them soon enough. Not a bad list at all of the players leeds have produced over the years and id like to see that bettered Phil

    Plus we have future stars in:
    Fabian Delph
    Jonny Howson
    Aiden White
    Josh Falkinham
    Tom Elliot

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  • 184. At 5:20pm on 12 Nov 2008, redarsenal4champions wrote:

    if arsenals team stays together over the next few years then we will dominate english and european football. lets just hope players like fabregas stick around. if all teams played football then we would no doubt win the league year after year.

    why not play our young guns away at places like bolten so they feel they have a chance of winning but then we destroy them by 3 or 4.

    if we are going to win the league then our fans need t stop turning on us everytime we play a bad game. the atmosphere on match days is poor and we need to start letting the hardcore fans in to start cheering the team on instead of having people who no nothing about arsenal.

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  • 185. At 5:24pm on 12 Nov 2008, geof24 wrote:

    Don't agree about Upson. The centre back position is one that Wenger has struggled with and found far from convincing players. Admittedly Upson is injury prone, but he has played his way into England reckoning.

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  • 186. At 5:26pm on 12 Nov 2008, bballchris wrote:

    And as a side from my previous comment, how many of arsenal's youth team have been bought?

    City in recent years have produced players like:
    SWP (came to us at 15 after being released by nottingham forests academy)
    Ireland (came to us at 15 after being rejected by other clubs)
    Johnson (signed on for us after leaving evertons academy in 2004)
    Sturridge (came to us at 13 after being at coventrys academy for 14 months)
    Richards (came to us in 2001 from oldhams academy)
    And many more who have moved on.

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  • 187. At 5:26pm on 12 Nov 2008, ITFC_Peralta10 wrote:

    Excellent article. I agree that Wilshere and Ramsey are both superb talents, but is it possible to accommodate those two as well as Fabregas. We must not forget that Fabregas is only 21, and they are not going to wait six or seven years to make a breakthrough. I think there will only be room for one of them and I wouldn't want to make that decision.

    I am little concerned that all their young stars appear to attack minded but no defensive substance, which is exactly what has curtailed Arsenal's progress in recent season. This could just be a case of deja vu, breathtaking attacking talent undone by defensive frailities.

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  • 188. At 5:27pm on 12 Nov 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    Some people are saying these youngsters never break into the first team and just fizzle out, but thats not true. If you look back to the other young side that beat Liverpool 6-3 at Anfield at the beginning of 2007 eight of those that lined up that day are now regulars for Arsenal or wherever they went(namely; denilson, diaby, walcott, song, traore, aliadierre, hoyte and djourou).

    And only Song & Djourou featured in the side that beat Wigan, so that tells you how much young talent has come through since. I beleive, just like this article is saying, the future of England looks bright. Its only a matter of time before these youngsters are challenging some senior players in the English side for starting places, just take a look at Walcott.

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  • 189. At 5:39pm on 12 Nov 2008, AnotherMrLizard wrote:

    Bio Chelsea wrote:

    "Wenger and his "youngsters" is one of the most boring and overplayed "stories" in English football.

    It's madness - he wins nothing. Beautiful football with no point whatsoever. And journalists blowing hot air over and over - year after year.

    How boring. "

    ----------------------------------

    Er, football is a GAME - you know, entertainment... My question to you is: What's the 'point' of football if it isn't beautiful - or at the very least, entertaining?

    You would probably say 'winning,' which begs the question: Who were you supporting during all those years when Chelsea were winning nothing?

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  • 190. At 5:42pm on 12 Nov 2008, zappa81 wrote:

    Certainly wouldn't mind some of these Arsenal youngsters on loan at West Brom in January. Be a good test for them and their game would benefit as we play attractive football. Can't see Wenger sending them out to teams like Stoke or Bolton.

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  • 191. At 5:44pm on 12 Nov 2008, azawoots wrote:

    Where you said david bentley is the only one people associated to arsenal regret selling... i think that is a poor judgement. Would bentley actually get into the arsenal team now? ahead of walcott and nasri?? no way..! Bentley has no pace.. which therefore means he would not fit into arsenal, because over the years arsenal wingers have been full of pace.... overmars,pires,Ljungberg.! Bentley is no better than eboue lol!

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  • 192. At 5:48pm on 12 Nov 2008, Optomistic and English wrote:

    some of the past Arsenal youth that have been named here: e.g. Upson, Bently, dunno if Pennant was mentioned, but anyway. they may not have been necicerally as good but had they been given a better chance they probably would have grown into better players than they are now. i do remeber seeing betley play for arsenal, he was a a great player, and has only recently returned to that way of playing after a few down years!

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  • 193. At 5:51pm on 12 Nov 2008, AnotherMrLizard wrote:

    By the by, can people please stop giving Upson and Bentley as examples of English players Wenger let go. Wenger did not want to sell either of these players, they asked to leave.

    And before anyone starts bleating about Wenger not giving them a chance in the first team, please consider that Upson had Adams, Campbell and Keown in front of him while Bentley had Pires, Ljungberg and Bergkamp. If either of them had waited a season or two I'm sure they would have had a decent shot.

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  • 194. At 5:55pm on 12 Nov 2008, cheeky wrote:

    fnally after all this Arsenal are killing Englands chances, and it's all Arsene's fault that we never win anything at international level

    well finally the penny is starting to drop, it is just the fact that most English players are over priced and over rated

    Wenger had to sign a load of 10 year olds and spend 6 years developing them into good enough players to play our passing and high tempo game

    soon he will start getting the praise he deserves. Only the ill informed thinks he is killing international football

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  • 195. At 5:57pm on 12 Nov 2008, sinno14 wrote:

    I think you could argue that Upson would currently get in the team ahead of Silvestre, and for £1m Wenger didn't get his usually impeccable timing quite right.

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  • 196. At 5:58pm on 12 Nov 2008, trh2107 wrote:

    A really good article Phil. Arsene clearly has a knack for nurturing talent and it's doesn't half show in these sorts of games. I think it's also worth pointing out that Danny Welbeck (apparently) had a very good game against QPR even though Utd as a whole struggled.

    It's looking very rosy for English football, but then the so called 'Golden Generation' still contrived to make a mess of things, Sven or anyone else they should have done better.

    The Carling Cup is an excellent proving ground, it's to early to rush them into the under 21 squad and destroy all the hard work of our other promising youngsters in Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Huddlestone etc.

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  • 197. At 6:05pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    184

    how can you possibly justify saying Arsenal will dominate English and European football for years to come?

    that's the most ridiculous thing i've heard all day. in fact, it's probably up there with the most ridiculous things i've heard since the Gooners declared in 1998 that "the next 10yrs are ours"

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  • 198. At 6:14pm on 12 Nov 2008, FinsburyParkGunner wrote:

    Phil,
    Excellent blog and responses.
    Everyone is praising Arsene when most of the work is done under the supervision of Liam Brady, Steve Bould and Neil Banfield.
    Having watched the Arsenal Reserves this season I have also seen some exceptional English talent at Chelsea, West Ham and especially Aston Villa who thrashed us 4-1 and regretably we play in the Youth Cup.
    Should be one hell of a good game if Steve Bould is able to field some of the players on the fringe of the 1st team.
    One thing I can say having watched the reserves and the U-16's is that we, Arsenal, appear to have adopted the Ajax way of coaching, which is to play the kids in all positions so that get a better understanding of what is required. You can see the results of this with the likes of Kieran Gibbs ex winger, Gavin Hoyte ex center half, Alex Song ex midfield.

    It would be interesting to hear if the other clubs with successful youth teams have the same policy ?

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  • 199. At 6:18pm on 12 Nov 2008, collie21 wrote:

    Not knocking the talent of the team, I can't I haven't seen them. BUT. I have said it already United won a lot with youngsters... Arsenal should have maybe won more. The are beautiful to watch but I think they don't have the temprement of a winning team over the long hall....Where are the guys like Keown, Adams, Vierra, or even Keane for United, or Vinny Jones for God sake, Where is the tough guy coming out of Arsenal... I don't see it...

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  • 200. At 6:36pm on 12 Nov 2008, cliveeta wrote:

    I quote Phil "And, with some Arsenal fans believing one or two established names are feeling a little too comfortable about their places, the sight of these lavishly-gifted young men parading their talent may just cattle-prod anyone out of complacency."

    After thrashing Sheff Utd, the big boys lost 2-1 at home to Hull City, Arsenals most complacent performance of the year. Watch out! here comes Villa, will we see a step up from the first team?....

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  • 201. At 6:42pm on 12 Nov 2008, arsenalxii wrote:

    This must be one of the most popular blogs i've seen, its got so many comments!

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  • 202. At 6:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, csipahi wrote:

    I totally agree with robbieo79. If sanderos could make the arsenal squad or Djourou, how comes that Upson could not? Moreover, arsenal never had good cover up for centre-back position for years. Apart from Bentley, there is even Jermaine Pennant who was sent away by Wenger with the similar reasons... I wonder if Pennant, Bentley and Upson were francophones, could they convince Wenger better? If those criticisms did not worry Wenger, no simpson or either wilshere would mak ethe squad nowadays I guess... Once a mediterenean coach takes up a job in the PL, he starts to bring young players from his own country or area (french or spanish mostly). Why on earth there aren't any brazilian or argentinian talent existing in the arsenal reserves? Aren't there enough talent there to spot on? Considering the size of the club and it's potential in scouting, I can not comprehend why there aren't any s.americans or eastern europeans coming in..this article is far too biased. It's using certain recent consequences to back up an already thought idea; but not all the consequences exisiting...

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  • 203. At 6:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, theoddgoal wrote:

    As others have noted, Upson and Bentley asked to leave. Neither was willing to wait a season of two to work their way into the first team. Both would have have made it eventually; but I, for one, am not too unhappy they left. Upson Arsenal could have used - obviously a better long term bet than either Cygan or Senderos. Bentley I have still yet to be impressed with - his ability or his character.

    The current young players are a different matter. I've seen Wilshere play a number of times and he impresses me more and more each time. This young man is absolute dynamite.

    Simpson, Ramsey, Lansbury, and Randall are all high class players in the making. So, too, Gavin Hoyte and Gibbs.

    This is not your ordinary group of young prospects. With the non-British players in the team - Merida and Vela are exceptional - it is apparent that one of Wenger's main goals when he came to Arsenal is finally coming to fruition. Ferguson will be acknowledged as one of the greats of the game - the most successful of managers - but Wenger will be the one to leave the most lasting legacy. In years to come he will be seen as the one who revolutionized professional football at the top tier in England. Vive le professeur sage.

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  • 204. At 6:55pm on 12 Nov 2008, Modest Mouse wrote:


    Yes, it's encouraging to see so many English players in the Arsenal ranks and of course gratitude to Wenger for extending the careers of Adams, Keown, Dixon etc.

    However Wenger used a couple of duff buys to justify a systematic neglect of English players which has seen Arsenal turn into nothing more than a stopping point for a group of highly paid foreign journeymen.

    English players in an English team are more than just numbers on a shirt - they also create an ethos, enforce a collective language and (ideally) have a reason for being at the club other than purely money so the moment the going gets tough you don't start to read that they'll be off to Barcelona at the end of the season.

    Wenger's failure to nurture, develop or buy English talent is why Arsenal haven't won anything since 2005 and likely won't win anything this season.

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  • 205. At 7:04pm on 12 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    Phil has done two very good blogs about The Arsenal lately, both have generated a good response and debate.

    " Could Wenger shape New England "

    perhaps if some take the trouble to actually read this blog the above does not mean save England. and in particular not AW alone or his youth policy.

    I think what it really indicates/means is that the Arsenal team on display is perhaps a glimpse of some of the national side to come in a few years, as sure as eggs is eggs the current lot will win naff all, yes naff all, under Cappello as has been mentioned, its to full of egos and self important Stars to be considered a " team " its a mish mash from various clubs who actually cant work/play together as has been alluded to on previous topics about the dire state of the national team and those in charge and responsible for it, all of who should be ashamed of themselves.

    Aw is contributeing in the long term! for the long term and many saw players last night that might! yes might make the grade, there are no guarentees for anyone no matter what club they play for or nationality, but from what most saw surely its about time people buried the notion AW is doing nothing! he is, many of you just have to open your eyes to see it and set aside your blinkered opinions about Arsenal and AW

    even saying the above I personally dont give a stuff about what AW does for the national team, I am interested in what he can do for Arsenal if that means our players end up in an England, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, shirt so be it a lil bonus for some, for me I am batting for AW and Arsenal not England, unless that happens to be Rugby Union of course.

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  • 206. At 7:13pm on 12 Nov 2008, snelly1986 wrote:

    as a portsmouth fan i'm loving this.

    with tony adams as manager, what are the chances of us getting someone like jack wilshere on loan, or one of the other players for a cheap fee when they dont quite make it at arsenal?

    ...cant wait to see mark randall at fratton!

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  • 207. At 7:15pm on 12 Nov 2008, Ayresomeoriginal wrote:

    Another fantastic piece of journalism from a southern journalist not used to life outside of the big city. At long last a London Club brings some home grown talent on display and you are waving the England flag and shouting from the roof tops how the future of Englands Team is saved.

    You totally fail to recognise that for the past 5 years the North East of England has been putting money into the Academies for the future of football and that the England Under 21 Team that has reached the Euro Finals next year consists of 4 players from Boro's Academy namely Wheater, Johnson, Taylor and Cattermole ( Now playing for Wigan but still one of our own ) and that another from the Academy is in Capello's full England Squad, Stewart Downing.

    Even better news there is still more and better to come from this Academy, so just pop upto Rockliffe Park sometime and see the real world for a change.

    The Boro also have a young keeper in the first team from the Academy, Ross Turnbull another who will be in the England squad before the World Cup on present performances.

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  • 208. At 7:22pm on 12 Nov 2008, ma801gh wrote:

    Oh really, stop with all this Wenger worshipping nonsense at once. It is really quite embarrassing, and I expect better from the BBC. We all should.

    "Could Wenger shape new England"?

    Out of what? Clay? cat's vomit? an old cereal box perhaps? Does he know the shapes and sizes of American states? The man's a genius! Let us erect a statue of him in Trafalgar square, post-haste.

    Yes, okay, we get it; Arsenal have good, young footballers. But that has all been said a bazillion times before. This reeks of blogging for the sake of it.

    The following is far more evocative football commentary:

    football is all about identity; we are x club from x place. When you have a team made up of players from all over the globe its identity is lost. The big clubs are nothing more than global franchises like McDonalds or Starbucks. They are everywhere, yet they mean nothing.

    The best that Arsenal can hope for now is to be re-branded as Wenger's global-force-super-action world beaters and be sold separately at all good retailers.

    I have some hope a few clubs will resist the urge to become global, profitable, and entirely vacuous, but it is not much.

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  • 209. At 7:23pm on 12 Nov 2008, Gilly ghoasting in (ManOfTheLane) wrote:

    dont really agree with too many of your points.

    on the basis of one match, its england's future and potential golden generation.

    the bentley comment is a strange one because they missed him against Tottenham in the Emirates a couple of weeks ago. Also they missed out on the huge transfer fee Tottenham played for him(I know they got a small percentage of the fee).
    Also Arsenal have played players like Eboue and Walcott down the line both who lack any productivity

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  • 210. At 7:25pm on 12 Nov 2008, Gilly ghoasting in (ManOfTheLane) wrote:

    dont really agree with too many of your points.

    on the basis of one match, its england's future and potential golden generation.

    the bentley comment is a strange one because they missed him against Tottenham in the Emirates a couple of weeks ago. Also they missed out on the huge transfer fee Tottenham played for him(I know they got a small percentage of the fee).
    Also Arsenal have played players like Eboue and Walcott down the line both who lack any productivity.

    also ramsey and vela are both clearly arsenal's best young talents

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  • 211. At 7:41pm on 12 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Some great posts on here and a really good standard of debate, both for and against.

    What a list of players from Leeds as well, although all the top teams produced great home-grown players in the 60s and 70s to a large extent.

    Interesting to hear so much talk about Ramsey.

    Can't help but think Wenger outflanked Ferguson there. United were very confident in the initial stages of a proposed deal, but the Wenger charm worked and he went to Arsenal.

    When I posed the question about whether Wenger shape the England team, I was wondering whether he would have a big influence on young players who went on to play for their country. A fair question I think.

    The same could apply to Wales with Ramsey and all the other young players flying under the flags of various nations at the Emirates.

    Keep the comments coming. Great stuff.

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  • 212. At 7:56pm on 12 Nov 2008, rjaggar wrote:

    It's always a judgement call, but there could be a case for seeing if Jay Simpson could be an impact sub in the Premier League if Bendtner, van Persie and Adebayor lose their scoring boots, like Walcott was two years ago.

    He's a big lad, he's strong, he's good in the air and he has good touch and seemingly can finish.

    I'd certainly give him a few goes on the bench - if he didn't deliver he could go back to the reserves where he is anyway. And the Carling Cup games, of course.

    But Arsenal up front right now are spurning chances. Simpson scored two (one good one, one he couldn't really miss) and hit the bar with a screamer on the turn. And if M. Wenger truly believes in competition not TV contracts (aka passports), then it would be interesting to see Simpson given a sub's runout, say in the league game against Wigan in December?

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  • 213. At 8:06pm on 12 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    203

    how has he "revolutionised" football at the top of the English game?

    passing? movement? technical ability? tactics? speed of play? creativity? imagination?

    nope, it's none of those

    how about bringing through your own players and winning stuff with brilliant flowing football?

    nope.

    how about a devastating combination of superb possession football and rapier counter-attacking?

    again, nope.


    so come on, what is it that Wenger has "revolutionised"? I'm dying to know!

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  • 214. At 8:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, G_is_God wrote:

    As someone mentioned previously, we have heard it all before. Wenger does have a good eye for talent. The problem is, couple of years into their Arsenal careers, they all want to leave. Adebayor and Fabregas will be gone next summer. So, whilst he is amazing at spotting talent, he is not so amazing at keeping it.

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  • 215. At 8:29pm on 12 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    There is some great debate on here about the merits of what Arsene Wenger and The Arsenal are trying to achieve and of course not everybody is going to agree and natural allegiance to your own club is bound to happen.

    However.

    For those people who are sniping, to the West Ham fans constantly comparing the undoubted strengths of their academy over the years, the fans of clubs who watch reserve games and have seen them beat most the players from last night, from the bleating Chelsea fans (who probably dont have a clue what is going on !!), to the fans of other clubs who have bought previous "stars" of our reseves and youth teams, to the poisonous comments from Spurs fans, I just say this...

    IF YOU WANT, PLAY YOUR YOUTHS IN THE SAME WAY...GAIN SOME OF THE KUDOS THAT OUR CLUB GETS FOR SHOWING STRENGTH OF BELIEF IN YOUR LADS.

    YOU WONT...SO GET OFF OUR BACKS JUST BECAUSE WE DO.

    PS. the likes of Bentley, Upson, Pennant, Sidwell, Muamba, et al werent sold because we didnt think they would make it as top class players, it was because they wouldnt wait for the full benefit of a top class football education..they wanted instant first team football....too bad. Their loss not ours!

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  • 216. At 8:41pm on 12 Nov 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    For gods sake, what is it with Wenger and the English press, yes they were good, very good even, but have the English media ever been so unfailingly eager to fling themselves at a manager's feet in supplication after every result?

    They wouldn't get anywhere near the league, they'd be lucky to finish top half, there is a world of difference between turning out every few weeks in the Carling Cup with no pressure and playing week in week out where the results matter and the opposition is occasionally happy to take home a point.

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  • 217. At 8:49pm on 12 Nov 2008, U2165263 wrote:

    i just dont understand why people think we miss bentley!! how many goals and assist did ljunberg achieve, compare that to bentley's stats.

    furthermore, walcott is now an established international, something bentley has yet to achieve. he will never play for a big 4 club, spurs is as good as it gets for him.

    further to your post Phil, I must admit as a frenchman not sure if i should be happy with wenger producing such great english players!

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  • 218. At 8:50pm on 12 Nov 2008, england26france18 wrote:

    Arsenal fans say the same things year after year after year...

    "We have the best youth team in the world, in five years time we're going to win everything"

    Truth is, half of them will move on before they get to the first team as they'll get sick of only playing Carling Cup games. Others won't fulfill their potential, and some will become very good players for Arsenal.

    Plus, one reason behind their phenomenal success in the Carling Cup (I don't deny that they are talented) is that it is the only game that they'll get this season if they lose. The Wigan players last night, De Ridder aside, really didn't looked like they cared. They're stuck in a lose-lose situation, win and they are only kids, lose and they've lost to a team of U20s.

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  • 219. At 9:16pm on 12 Nov 2008, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    Oh, the bitter Arsenal haters do make me laugh!

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  • 220. At 9:58pm on 12 Nov 2008, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    A couple of things: A lot has been written about David Bentley. He is an average player. No way he could make the Arsenal first team, let alone compete with Henry and Bergkamp. I hope people stop using him as an example of an Englishman who was 'failed' at Arsenal.
    Two: Pressure. England will never perform when it matters unless English players ability is honestly judged by Englishmen. A young team with 5-6 English players beats Wigan and we are already speaking of 'the future of England being shaped'! Amazing.
    Three: Football is culture as much as sport. That is why it has taken 12 years for Wenger to find a bunch of players who play the French way, or at least the French way of years ago. I don't think that that in itself will change anything in English football. Outside of Wenger's management these players will find it difficult to adapt and express themselves. They will be lost in an all English side unless they can develop multiple footballing personalities each.
    Just as France changed their style by adding directness agility and aggression to their play since the days of Platini and Tigana, there will have to be fundamental change in English football with emphasis on technical and ball skills, reading the game, vision and tempo change (not 90 mph for 90 mins). That will take more than Wenger to achieve. In the mean time there are kids around the world who are doing their thing. Some of them will be the new Fabregas and will certainly find their way to the Emirates.. Quality will always get them through. Being English is a good start, considering the places some of these foreign kids come from, however you have to deliver to play for any big club.

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  • 221. At 9:59pm on 12 Nov 2008, watsonhartlepool wrote:

    I think that every season Arsenal play the youngsters and every season they play well. It is good to see a larger number of English players in their League cup side but it is jumping the gun to declare this to be a step forward in terms of young English players breaking through.

    The case of Upson puts doubts on the good but not good enough point of view. He was there for 5 seasons and played only 30 or so games. In that time the squad had Luzhny, Vivas, Cygan & Stepanovs all of whom are not good players. I think most look at that rather than the main players, the average reserves who are cluttering the squad and meaning that the young English players don't get to make the match day squads.

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  • 222. At 10:11pm on 12 Nov 2008, RadebeRaver88 wrote:

    yeh my list of leeds players had alot of players from 60's and 70's but there was great players 80's, 90's and 00's. back to the article. two of my housemates are arsenal fans, they think wilshire is gonna be massive, but they say freeman will be bigger again. on the ramsey argument, id agree cardiff deserve all the credit there. arsenal havent really improve him that much as he was so talented goin there. he will be the lynchpin of the wales team tho, the spine being hennessy, gabbidon, collins, koumas, ramsey, bellamy and ched evans. im looking forward to this being a welshman, but england look good with talented players comin through 2

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  • 223. At 10:13pm on 12 Nov 2008, rosinha85 wrote:

    Got to agree with robbieo79 - Bentley had a very good season while on loan at Norwich.

    Also, Arsenal only started with 5 English players against Wigan, while Lansbury came on and both Ogogo and Frimpong remained on the bench - so out of a matchday squad of 18, 8 were English. Not bad at all for Arsenal, but still less than half.

    While Jack Wilshere in particular looks to be an amazing prospect indeed, he is still only 16. I hope he fulfills his potential as he looks like he could be world class, but who knows?

    Arsenal have had plenty of good young English players come through their ranks but currently have none in their first team squad - the only Englishman is Theo Walcott who they brought from Southampton of course.

    I'm sure Arsene Wenger has nothing against English players and isn't too bothered about a players passport as long as he's good enough - but he does seem to invest in an awful lot of french-speaking players.

    On a slightly different note, does anybody else dislike it when former players or managers say somethine like "Arsenal are one of the few teams I would pay to watch."

    If Kevin Blackwell would only pay to watch a few teams, surely nobody should have to pay to watch Sheffield United?

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  • 224. At 10:13pm on 12 Nov 2008, TommyQC wrote:

    Agree with you on Bentley.

    However, you seem to overlook the fact that over the last few years Arsenal have dropped so many points simply by not being up for the fight against physical teams (like Bolton, Stoke etc). And in particular the lack of a battling midfielder has hampered them big time.

    Would you really say that someone (ok, not as technically accomplished as other Arsenal players but still talented) like Sidwell would not have done an excellent job in the absence of Flamini?

    The problem with Arsenal at the moment is an over-commitment to beautiful football. To win trophies you need ugly grafters as well as gifted wonderkids. Yes, they are fantastic to watch but three full seasons without a trophy speak for themselves.

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  • 225. At 10:28pm on 12 Nov 2008, showUsYerHands wrote:

    I think Wenger could do with Mathew Upson right now from the players that he released, but that aside decent blog.

    But I cannot see how Simpson will get into the first team. Already ahead of him are Vela, Bendtner, Eduardo, Adebayor and Van Persie. Likely Adebayor will be gone within 2 years (to pursue money) but the rest could be there for years.

    Wilshire I think is so good he will get a chance very soon, as he also operates in an area of the pitch where Arsenal are not too heavily stocked. I think Rosicky should just be released as he can't be relied upon, like it or not. Give Wilshire his place in the first team Wenger.

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  • 226. At 10:52pm on 12 Nov 2008, PAsoccer wrote:

    Looks like Arsenal have a great crop of English youngsters. Spurs also have a great selection of young English players like campbell. I always worry 'where is the next Beckham, owen, or scholes coming from. Well, lets hope we are starting to see the next crop of England regulars. More importantly is the present. Harry has the spurs playing some great stuff. The re-emergence of Bent is great for England. Don't forget the likes of Bentley, Lennon, woodgate, Jenas etc. With Capello at the helm the future looks bright for England!!

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  • 227. At 11:04pm on 12 Nov 2008, Sam wrote:

    Phil, why do you insist on posing intuitive questions in the titles of your blog entries before going on to offer precious little in terms of an answer?

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  • 228. At 11:14pm on 12 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    sorry to go off topic but the result at SB must surely open up a whole lot of questions regarding, spine,grit, determination, and all these illustrious players that chelsea have that PLAY FOR ENGLAND!

    so perhaps we could have some perspective on teams slipping up against so called MINNOWS! and thus NO GOOD and WONT WIN NAFF ALL.

    or is perhaps because its Chelsea different rules apply?

    Chelsea? eat that then! your team of megabucks fails yet again at the hands of MINNOWS!!

    its not just an Arsenal phenomena is iT?

    I cant wait to read the excuse that lot will now come out with.

    WELL DONE BURNLEY!

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  • 229. At 11:21pm on 12 Nov 2008, cocknfess wrote:

    All the talk of Arsenal kids etc.. Look what happened to them last year, they got beat by a Spurs side that had 5 kids. I have a strong feeling that those kids will need some dummies to suck on after their defeat in the next round. I hope the England manager will be there. Perhaps as an advance precaution he should carry with him some nappies.

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  • 230. At 11:24pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mokujin wrote:

    Nice article Phil, I think everyone was impressed by Arsenals youngsters but i'd like to add a few points.

    Firstly, Wenger took over Arsenal in 1996, the past couple of years have seen the first crop of youngsters have been with the club since they were 8 years old and have been there exclusively whilst Wenger has been in charge and learning to play the game the Wenger way. That is going to have a large positive impact on their development.

    Secondly your points about Jeffers and Richard Wright I feel don't really count as these are players developed by other clubs and then signed by Arsenal rather than being a product of the Arsenal youth system.

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  • 231. At 11:52pm on 12 Nov 2008, vino147 wrote:

    You mentioned
    ¨¨¨¨There have been very few days when Arsenal have cried out for Bentley.¨¨¨¨

    I wish to correct that.

    THERE HAVE BEEN NO DAYS WHATSOEVER THAT ARSENAL HAVE CRIED OUT FOR BENTLEY

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  • 232. At 00:04am on 13 Nov 2008, goonervela wrote:

    Some of the negativity by some people makes me laugh!!

    We have people here arguing the fact that there too many foriengers at arsenal for the home-grown players to make any impact! Let me put a few points to you so called experts:

    • People will dismiss this but foriengers have been the reason for this vast amount of British talent.. The have raised the bar in terms of ability and it's as simple as be better or don't play! We went through a bit of a panic a couple of years back about the lack of English talent coming through... But remember that foriegn players have been around majorly for around 20 years... And it's this genaration that have been fully brought up
    With it and are benefitinG. How much damage can it do to train with or even watch players of the calibur of cesc fabregas. Mark my words the English national team will get better and bbetter!

    If an English player can't get ahead of a foriegn one how can we expect to be world cup winners and we also have something unique to us... That bulldog spirit. England has a bright future don't u worry!

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  • 233. At 00:19am on 13 Nov 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    230. At 11:24pm on 12 Nov 2008, Mokujin wrote:

    Secondly your points about Jeffers and Richard Wright I feel don't really count as these are players developed by other clubs and then signed by Arsenal rather than being a product of the Arsenal youth system.

    -----------------------------------------------

    I'm not saying that either Jeffer's or Wright are part of your youth system but going off your first paragraph, what does being a product of Arsenal's youth system entail? if it requires being in the system since the age of 8 then most of Arsenal's youth system aren't products of Arsenal's youth system either. in fact if it requires being in the youth system before the age of 15 then there's a fair few drop out as well.

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  • 234. At 00:58am on 13 Nov 2008, pashabulka wrote:

    i think it is pretty tough to claim that Wenger does not have a foreign bias. If you look at the upson example, you must question whether Senderos was any better, yet was allowed to remain at the club along with luzhny et al. Int he case of bentley and pennant, it is true that rarely have arsenal 'cried out' for them, but they are certainly just as capable as many of the foreigners Wenger imports. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and I would rather see Arsenal playing the beautiful football that they do than see them revert to the boring 1-0 teams of yester-year with 11 englishmen.

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  • 235. At 01:23am on 13 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    The problem is that this so called mentioned " bulldog " spirit went out of fashion years ago.

    in fact being associated with such an ugly looking mutt ( no fault of its own though kennel club rules apply ) hardly inspires anything, in fact its quite comical thats why Churchill use they ugly looking thing in all thier advetising. Apperently the british can relate to such images very easy and wrongly assume that thats the way to proceed.

    I think the term brain washing is apt.

    With AW and indeed a lot of other foriegn coaches believe the game has moved on somewhat ( cappello are u making notes ) and that the " bulldog " is well past its sell by date in fact the breed completly should be disbanded as it demonstrates what can go wrong when mankind/womankind can achieve when meddling with nature and natural selection.

    The Bulldog has no bite anymore, it belongs firmly in history along with the idiots who at the time thought it would be a good idea to give the english something to aspire to, my only concern is how come people still use the term when its is clear we now live in the 22nd Century not the 17th or 18th. if you take the trouble to think about the BULLDOG means naff all in todays society.

    The battel of the somme and WW1 and WW2 are long over yet still we have this banal and neatherdal mascot to show the world what being british is all about.

    judgeing from Chelseas performance tonight it would seem the bulldog has long deserted them, the only evidence ive seen to the contrary is the looks and make up of certain individuals in the game and as pundits who actually resemble the slobbering ugly breed. I wont mention names but they know who they are.

    Now if we are to have a mascot/emblem that would make the world take us as Brits seriously then may i suggest it be a Snake? forever condemed to be a Crawler easyly, trodden upon and stepped over lots of hissing , on occasion will use real venom to imobilise its prey etc. but the biggest anology i can draw betwenn that of the Snake and quite a few Football supporters is they DONT HAVE EARS! so you can talk till your blue in the face and still they wont listen, in many cases they also have Slits for eyes, which would explain this total blinkered view about the downfall of Football at International level but failing that if we must have a scapegoat and wish to blame someone for this countries obvious lack of abilty and credabilty in anything we do may i sugest we all blame............

    AW and Arsenal afterall someone has to be made the scapegoat for a clear failure to prove to the world that England can play the game we exported all over the world but now find ourselves bottom of the pile.

    and how strange it is apparently Foriegn players are " killing our game " but its ok to have foriegn managers one of whom is in charge of the national team. ( and rubbish as well )

    the hypocrisy of it all beggars belief, thank god id never waste my money on a air ticket/ferry trip to watch England attempt to play Football.

    The English National Team can continue to wallow in self denial as for me...

    Im fully behind the WENGER WAY and The Arsenal.

    amen.

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  • 236. At 01:27am on 13 Nov 2008, Gilly ghoasting in (ManOfTheLane) wrote:

    phil there is no doubt that Ferguson missed a trick when he failed to sign Ramsey, because he is a class act and this is coming from a Spurs supporter!




    RVP1968 wrote:
    PS. the likes of Bentley, Upson, Pennant, Sidwell, Muamba, et al werent sold because we didnt think they would make it as top class players, it was because they wouldnt wait for the full benefit of a top class football education..they wanted instant first team football....too bad. Their loss not ours!
    ------------------------------------------------------
    m8 not only are the players getting first team football which is far more valuable to any player then training with the Arsenal youths, they're getting paid twice as much at other clubs, so no benefit for some of them staying at a stagnate Arsenal.


    vino147 wrote:

    You mentioned
    ????There have been very few days when Arsenal have cried out for Bentley.????

    I wish to correct that.

    THERE HAVE BEEN NO DAYS WHATSOEVER THAT ARSENAL HAVE CRIED OUT FOR BENTLEY
    -----------------------------------------------------
    you'll find that when bentley blasted in the goal of the month against your lot then, arsenal were crying out at him!also arsenal are becoming a more physical team with more direst tactics and crosses with adebayor and Bendtner up front, so bentley is needed in that instance aswell.



    my last point is that arsenal have good young players because of scouting not young player development

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  • 237. At 01:41am on 13 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    pashabulka:

    you obviously know a lot about The Arsenal many of those teams from " yester-year " were made up of english, irish and scots not " 11 englismen " but your are correct we have now moved on from 1-0 to The Arsenal and people dont like that either hmmmmmmm

    wat is a team to or manager to do i wonder?

    I know, fill his team with mostly tacticly inept individuals alas it would seem many such persons are English as I think it was 1966 sisnce English Players proved they were any good at Football, even that was a controversial, result, happening etc not to dissimilar when V Wade happened to win Wimbledon on the Queens Jubilee.

    Foriegn Footys players are a breath of fresh air and have taken the neantherdal out of the EPL. well most of it anyway. there are still a few die hards believeing in that " Bulldog " spirit

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  • 238. At 02:11am on 13 Nov 2008, GunningForGreatGlory wrote:

    robbieo79..... you mentioned that Bentley played well ad Norwich but then went on to list all his personal problems. Whose fault are they? Ever noticed why you never seen Arsenal players hitting the headline for the wrong reasons?? Thats because Wenger never allows it and if players do fall out of line then they are out. Bentley is a pre-madonna thinking he is too good to be a sub, when in fact ahead of him was the wonderful Pires and Ljunberg. Had he of waited a bit more longer when Pires was sold he may well have got his chance, but he was too impatient and was not willing to wait. Fair play to him but Wenger could not be blamed for this.

    Upson was good but he was too injury prone and everytime we needed him he was injured. It was unfortunate but things happen in careers. I don't think he is Arsenal quality, but maybe a backup.

    Of all the players Wenger has released, if thats the only two people can make an example of as being "the one that got away" then I would say Wenger is spot on for most of them.

    Mark my words, Whilshere and Ramsey will be stars for years to come!

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  • 239. At 08:23am on 13 Nov 2008, Vanatou wrote:

    There is no doubt Bentley would have made the grade at Arsenal if he worked a bit more and sulked a bit less.

    A footballer's skills are not by themselves enough if they are not accompanied by the right behaviour overall and regrettably Bentley is lacking in some respects and is apt to spoil team moral.

    Not long ago hailed as the Beckhams successor, now his England career serioulsy questioned - not through lack of skill but through wrong behaviour.

    That said, only so many excellent players can fit into the squad and from time to time it is only right to allow even excellent players to leave and make a career elsewhere,

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  • 240. At 08:37am on 13 Nov 2008, alpeshcgujjar wrote:

    People talk about how Managers helpe produce a football talent,but they dont talk about the failed ones.
    Every year we see there is/are atleast 1 or 2 star emergin,but no one talks about the rest who failed.
    I think a Manager gets all the cradit when a young footballer shows some promising signs,but how about those who failed Managers shoud take cradit for that as well.
    I believe if there are 10 players only one comes out as the future star,how about those failed 9..
    I think experts should mention them as well.
    If Wenger made 10 stars out of 40 then he also failed on other 30....(just an example).
    Fabrigas is the player that Wenger showed the world,but how about those who couldn't make it,those who played along with Fabrigas..(spell me)
    This applies to every Manager and CLub.
    We mention one talent but forget those who failed.

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  • 241. At 09:25am on 13 Nov 2008, supergunner07 wrote:


    He is shaping it if he hasnt already shaped it because all the way from reserves, U18s, U16s through to the U9s all play the combination and technical football. Also Arsenal sees academy leagues and reserves football and carling cup (FA youth cup) as development tool rather than winning tool meaning they worry more about improvement of individual players's technical skills & their performances than winning but other clubs dont see it like that.

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  • 242. At 09:26am on 13 Nov 2008, supergunner07 wrote:



    As for the subject matter, he is shaping it if he hasnt already shaped it because all the way from reserves, U18s, U16s through to the U9s all play the combination and technical football. Also Arsenal sees academy leagues and reserves football and carling cup (FA youth cup) as development tool rather than winning tool meaning they worry more about improvement of individual players's technical skills & their performances than winning but other clubs dont see it like that.

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  • 243. At 09:29am on 13 Nov 2008, anfieldsean wrote:

    post 188.

    arsenal beat liverpool 6-3.

    a certain real madrid loanee bagged a hat-trick

    julio baptista WAS NOT A YOUTH PLAYER

    this young arsenal side is no different to the senior side. plays lovely football but doesnt win trophies.

    aston villa won their reserve league and they didn't win the youth cup. if they played at stoke or bolton they would be outmuscled and walked all over. yes they have technical ability but maybe people should give them a chance to develop without heaping so much pressure on them at the ripe old age of 16-19!!!

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  • 244. At 09:37am on 13 Nov 2008, shanegirt wrote:

    To be honest ,and as an Arsenal fan i really doubht many of them will get into the first elevn ,purely for the fact for the first team players they have to dislodge.

    The only player i beleive will make it will be vela and maybe wilshire

    However the good news is if we lose our top stars ,their will be another one right round the corner

    wenger is amazing , but what will happen when hes gone?

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  • 245. At 09:38am on 13 Nov 2008, anfieldsean wrote:

    and btw 'spurs have great english talent like campbell'

    the guys on loan from united

    ie-not a spurs player so cannot be used to prove your point............

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  • 246. At 09:43am on 13 Nov 2008, PeterH wrote:

    Great blog.

    I've heard time again over the last couple of days from people, and their are a few making comments here, that none of the youngsters ever get a chance.

    I want to put that right once and for all.

    Of the regular first team players/subs currently at Arsenal the below all had to find their way in the Carling cup squad before getting a look in:

    Almunia, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Adebayor, Bendtner, Eboue, Song and Walcott

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  • 247. At 09:56am on 13 Nov 2008, cmwhaha wrote:

    Potential is all well and good, but there are lots of young kids who are supremely skilled who never amount to anything. Until Wenger wins something with them they are not worth talking about. I remember Man Utd's homegrown talent winning a lot of trophies, but since then I have seen no other team come up with a crop of yougsters as good.

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  • 248. At 10:30am on 13 Nov 2008, wakaabout wrote:

    there is no doubt Arsene has a knack for young talent; i share in this dream. however, we should not be carried away by their spectarcular display against wigan. Arsene must mix these young fellows with the already established players. put simply, we need to see our dear manager being active in the january transfere market.

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  • 249. At 11:01am on 13 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    put simply, we need to see our dear manager being active in the january transfere market.

    --------------------

    I'd say we need one or a maximum of two new signings. First, I want to see us buy an established centre-half. Silvestre has looked good but there's a reason he was allowed to leave Man United, he's not in the same league as Vidic or Ferdinand. I believe we signed him for his versatility rather than anything else, and remember he almost screwed up inside one minute against United at the weekend.

    Surely there must be a decent centre back kicking about in Serie A who we could poach? I've heard we're in for some 11 year old Leeds centre half called Delph or Dolph or something, but I'm not sure he's the right sort of experienced player we'd be looking for.

    Other than that, the only other position I think we may need to strengthen is the goalkeeper. I haven't been massively convinced by Fabianski and while I like Almunia (as good as Reina if you ask me) he's prone to mistakes and to really challenge we need someone like a David Seaman, who always catches his crosses and doesn't make the defence nervous. Problem is there aren't very many established David Seamans kicking about at the moment.

    Song is the short-term answer in defensive midfield. I prefer him to Denilson and he is far more combative. In the longer term, Wilshire could be a shout, if he bulks up over the next few years. He's not frightened of a tackle from what I've seen (neither is Fabregas) and with a left-right combination they could be an excellent partnership, maybe bringing Song into the team for trickier games and playing one up front.

    I've been watching Arsenal reserve teams for years now, and this lot are far far better than anything I've seen in the past - approaching United's class of the late 90's, if they haven't already reached that level. All they need now is experience.

    The problem is, experience is hard to come by. It was different when United were bringing Scholes, Beckham and the Neville's through, the league was far weaker then and United were the only really viable team in it. They could afford to give the kids regular run outs and could be fairly confident that their one remotely serious challenger - Newcastle - would slip up even if the 'kids' did drop points.

    These days even if one of Arsenal's rivals do slip up, there are another two massive teams who probably won't; it's immeasurably harder to win the league now than it was in the late 90's. I mean come on, Arsenal won it in 1998 while regularly playing Chris Wreh, Luis Boa Morte, Gilles Grimandi and Ray Parlour in their team.

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  • 250. At 11:17am on 13 Nov 2008, Wengerpore wrote:

    Phil - great post.

    I think it is inevitable that there will be a lot of adverse reaction from non-Arsenal fans but if they actually read what you said, they would see that this is not a rose tinted rhapsody over Wenger and Arsenal - you simply point to the fact that contrary to popular belief, Wenger wants to produce English talent that is capable of playing the kind of football he believes in. Players who are comfortable in possession, players with pace and skill and who can move the ball quickly from one side of the pitch to the other.

    As Trevor Brooking will tell you, those attributes are especially important to international football in every position - e.g. Rio Ferdinand - but they are qualities that are not valued enough at the early stages of a kid's football career in England. Because, even in primary school football, the emphasis is solely on winning matches, kids who are stronger physically relative to their peers get more praise and profile than kids with technique. But as the kids get older, the physical side evens out a bit and it is the technically gifted players who can cut it at a higher level - but by then, it's already too late. The fully home-grown kids coming through at Arsenal now began their education at 8 or 9 years old. They have been learning to play "the Wenger way" for 10 years so that, if they are good enough, they will be able to slot straight into the first team.

    Luckily, unlike most clubs, Wenger has been given time to build the production line and see it bear fruit. He has had to buy in talent to be cometitive and because of the ridiculous premiums charged for English/British players by other clubs, he has looked abroad for talent (not always getting it right I admit, as anyone who's seen Stepanovs play will testify).

    As an England fan, I would love to see Arsenal play with an English core. But only if the players are up to the standard required. I've watched the Arsenal of George Graham and let's be honest, effective as they were, they didn't have too many fans amongst the neutrals did they!

    So give Wenger his due, credit him with some intelligence and, even if your tribal affiliation means you foam at the mouth at the sight of an Arsenal shirt, acknowledge that he doesn't care what your passport says - he only cares that you have the ability to play football the way he passionately believes it should be played

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  • 251. At 11:25am on 13 Nov 2008, Wengerpore wrote:

    I think it's worth pointing out to all the Arsenal nay-sayers out there, and especially those who highlight our problems against Stoke etc, that football is an entertainment industry. The premiership is the most popular league in the world, hence all the money in the game now. But if every game is played like Stoke - Wigan was the other day - when even Steve Bruce apologised for the dire game of football - then how long can that level of interest remain? The premiership needs more matches of the calibre of Arsenal - Man U where two teams played their socks off and played high tempo, high skilled attacking football. I hope that this approach, rather than the turgid stuff you get from Rafa half the time, is the approach that wins trophies in May. Whilst I think it wouldn't hurt for one or two players in the Arsenal midfield to remember to defend now and then, I don't want them to stop trying to play beautiful football either!

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  • 252. At 11:30am on 13 Nov 2008, badgerman69 wrote:

    Given the youth of the current first team it is obviously going to be pretty tough for more than one or two of these players to break through into Arsenal's first team. Bear in mind that, as well as Armand Traore, Arsenal also have two more promising youngsters - Nordtveit & Barazite - out on loan.

    I wouldn't consider any of these players who made it as first team regulars elsewhere in the Premier League, nor indeed in the Championship, as failures though.

    One interesting aspect about English youth football in general is the age of the Academy system. I believe this was introduced in 1998.

    I don't know much about what went before but I believe one of the main changes was that clubs would start getting kids at a much younger age. I think an Academy has to field sides for kids from eight-years-old up at least. That means any youngster having come all the way through the Academy system would now be 19 at most.

    It's pretty early to make serious judgments but there do seem to be a respectable number of youngsters emerging at a few clubs right now especially given how hard it has become for them to break through.

    At an international level - England's 1990 generation also reached the FIFA U17 World Cup Finals last year. They were one of only 5 European representatives and beat Brazil during the tournament. And next year the 1989 generation are off to the FIFA U20 World Cup Finals in Egypt.

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  • 253. At 11:33am on 13 Nov 2008, Tripitaka wrote:

    I'm not sure if we going to see huge amounts of Arsenal youngsters playing for England but maybe a few. Wilshere will almost certainly play but Randall and Simpson will probably not. It's too soon to say for the full backs, Hoyte and Gibbs, as defenders need to show consistency. Apart from Wilshere, Lansbury, captain of England U19s is the best prospect, these two need to be drafted into the U21 squad.

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  • 254. At 11:39am on 13 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 255. At 11:44am on 13 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    How about this for an alternative headline.

    WENGER SOUNDS THE DEATH KNELL FOR BRITISH FOOTBALL BY FIELDING A YOUTH TEAM WITH 5 FOREIGNERS IN THE STARTING LINE UP AND 6 ON THE BENCH.

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  • 256. At 11:45am on 13 Nov 2008, JGTSpurs wrote:

    It's ironic that so many Arsenal fans are having a dig at Spurs fans for "bitter" or "poisonous" comments while at the same time having plenty of digs at Spurs, but ho hum.

    No doubt there are plenty of talented players there. My only issue is the way they're being hailed in the way they are after two games. That's over the top. This happens every year when a promising young Arsenal team win a couple of games in the early rounds of the league cup and everyone goes overboard. It then goes quiet again later in the season. Why can't people just appreciate they're talented youngsters and the victories they've had instead of people jumping the gun and banging on about them being certain to do this, that or the other.

    One other point, I seem to remember Arsenal's 'youngsters and reserves' in the CC semis last year and the previous year including Fabregas, Almunia, Eboue, Abebayor etc. Every year it's said that Wenger will stick with the youngsters all the way through, but by the later stages it's not a team of youngsters, but half of the first team.

    One last point, it was ridiculous that Wenger was being criticised as holding back English football. But it's equally ridiculous that he's now being hailed for his commitment to English football. As usual the truth is somewhere in the middle, but as usual too many fans are either too blinkered or too stupid to see that.

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  • 257. At 11:45am on 13 Nov 2008, hasod22 wrote:

    I hope Whinger doesn't shape the England team , we dont want a load of wimps ...

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  • 258. At 11:47am on 13 Nov 2008, bornandbredgooner88 wrote:

    Fantastic blog as usual, you've pretty much summed up the excitement of all us gooners about the youngsters, breathtaking to watch

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  • 259. At 11:49am on 13 Nov 2008, Simpson91 wrote:

    To number '9' article. They haven't got to move anywhere as they are only teenagers still. Some of them are still at school.

    They need to be nurtured at Arsenal like other players who have made it through the ranks. Although people like Fabregas went straight in to the team, he was an exception as he is a very good player at such a good age.

    I think you need to realise that just because they demolished Wigan and Sheffield United, they shouldn't get to big headed and think they can hack it in the league. Teams play very differently in the cup to the league!

    Some of them will be Arsenal and England regulars in the future and they know Wenger is the man to turn them into the players they want to be.

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  • 260. At 12:17pm on 13 Nov 2008, brianafan wrote:

    i am afraid phil mcnulty is wrong about arsene wenger. his philosophy of the game is based on the club and has no room for the terraces, or perhaps he expects the fans to slavishly identify with anyone whomesoever and support the team. it is biggest regret of my sporting life that he took the north londeners and others who support arsenal for granted. i would even go so far as to say he abused their trust. i regret to have come to this conclusion.

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  • 261. At 12:25pm on 13 Nov 2008, Adefab wrote:

    To villapatience in comment 81 "Is this not the same arsenal kids side that villa reserves thumped at arsenals ground a few months ago 4-1 and our kids looked the better players"

    The answer is no... it is only 4 of the same Arsenal players that played in both games.

    As for Spurs fans... yes you may have more English players in your current squad but how many of them are playing for the England squad let alone making the impact that Theo has.

    The fact is that Arsene Wenger has had to prioritise his spending what with the Emirates build. He can't afford to spend £30 mill on players and hence has had to scout or develop youngsters. The highly inflated price of English talent being not an option. He does not have a preference for foreign players he simply buys the best talent with the money he has available. I don't know anyone that wouldn't agree that AW has excelled at both scouting and producing new young talent. Our squad cost a fraction of most other squads (I believe in the last 5 years, 18 out of the other 20 premiership clubs have spent more than us on players) yet all bar 2 of our first team players are full internationals and some with World and European champions medals. And we are consistently in the top 4 premiership clubs.

    When your manager has taken your team to the Champions league 10 years running, won 3 League titles, 4 FA cups, been in the Champions League Final, been invincible, plays the most attractive football in the country and maybe Europe, produces a team of outstanding youngsters and built perhaps the best stadium in the country... all while the club is being run as a business and not financed by some billionaire, then please feel free to criticise Arsene Wenger.

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  • 262. At 12:41pm on 13 Nov 2008, Tina wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 263. At 1:03pm on 13 Nov 2008, nickedwards28 wrote:

    Sure, whatever...

    We've heard this all before about how Arsenal and Wenger and on the verge of greatness with their incredible youngsters. There's several layers of dust in the trophy cabinet though isn't there.

    Rather than constantly blowing their on trumpets about how brilliant they are (and also hacks like Phil wetting themselves like silly schoolboys!), perhaps Wenger and co should consider how effective his modern crop of talent has been. Fabregas seems to be hailed as the second coming, but Arsenal are still a long way off the top two and arguably Liverpool this season. If you look across the Chelsea and United squads and ask yourself who would you replace with an Arsenal player, I think you'd struggle to justify any of their players. Walcott ahead of Ronaldo? Fabregas ahead of Lampard or Gerrard? Whoop-de-doo, Jack Wilshere is 16 and he can play against Wigan Athletic... Big deal, Phil.

    Until Arsenal and their "wonderful youngsters" win the Premiership I suggest you calm down and be realistic about what they've actually done - i.e. beaten Wigan at home and Sheffield United. Big deal... I think you'll find you're waiting a long, long time for any of this lot, or in fact Fabregas and co, to get the upper hand over the season on the top three.

    As a United fan, I'm curious why you aren't more excited about Johnny Evans, Rodrigo Rossebon, Rafael Da Silva, Anderson or Nani? Oh sorry, they're not English - like the England team somehow should get us all excited!



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  • 264. At 1:10pm on 13 Nov 2008, Nick wrote:

    To the people who say Arsenal are missing Bentley l want to point out a couple of facts. He is not a team player and is very selfish! I'm too tired to play for my country at U21!! What a cop out!! The way he then said he was staying at Blackburn then snubbed them to go to Tottenham. Yes he scored a great goal against Arsenal but I still think Almunia should have saved it. Then he gets to be a full international and Capello is extremely unimpressed with his attitude and commitment because he just wanted to be the joker and gets dropped!! No wonder and thank god he isn't with Arsenal as they win and loose as a team. Now Walcott has taken over on the right wing. He might not be a better crosser of the ball but Bentley doesn't have is pace so I can't see him being in the Arsenal first team now anyway.

    Upson was a good player and surely would have improved but as a few people have said he was injury prone at Arsenal and when we needed him he was injured or got injured.

    Selling both was good business especially Bentley. Some said that we didn't get much for him. I think Spurs paid £17 million for him and we got about £9 million of that so please don't say we didn't make much money out of him. They way Arsenal have sold on players that didn't quite make it for small amounts of money but then have clauses in for amount of games and then a sell on fee after that shows good business sense.

    Other people have said that they have beaten our reserve teams or our youth teams. Can I point out that we tend to put out young sides. We don't play put our stars in unless they are coming back from injury. The reserves are mainly made up of under 18's the U18's are mainly from 16 year olds etc. Someone also pointed out that it's about the performance not the result. We are making skillful young players and not schoolboy football where it's about the result and a mass chase after the ball.

    The Chelsea result made me laugh last night after Wilkins comments that Arsenal playing the youth team were being disrespectful. Maybe he should make sure his some of his 2nd eleven that played last night had more drive and determination about them!! Well done Burnley great result. Maybe he should have played his first team to prove the point and not a weakened team as I'm sure putting out a weaken team belittles the competition just as much!!

    Lets hope this young group of English players coming through can break into the 1st team. But for everyone moaning about Wenger and his lack of English players coming through the ranks please look at all the other top 4 teams. You don't see too many coming in or off the bench at MU, Liverpool and I can see no chance at Chelsea as they just buy in players and yes Chelsea have a lot of English players but only JT is through the ranks.

    Another debate would be why can't the big teams play a 2nd string and bring them up through the ranks but only being allowed to play up to the Championship and then make that team all English or British.

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  • 265. At 1:25pm on 13 Nov 2008, BigShifty wrote:

    This will be the defining season for Arsenal. When they were winning the league or finishing in the top 2, nothing much was said about Wengers lack of British players in the squad. Now it looks like they are going to be struggling to compete for the title AND will have few British players in the first team. If any of the teams in the bottom half played regular football with as few British players as Arsenal did I think there would be much more noise but for some reason we let Wenger get away with it.

    Bring on the 5+4 rule!


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To all the people who have commented on wenger ruining english football.

    Did you read the article? It clearly said that this is something new that is happening and it could be exciting.
    Your points are out of date, and, well, pointless.

    "we have seen it all before"
    Wenger himself stated this is the best crop he has had, and its full of home growns,
    You have definately not seen this before,
    Hence the article.

    Maybe Wenger is putting more faith in them because of the proposed 5+4 rule,
    If so, fair play to Platini for suggesting it!!

    In Scotland, Hibs have been the main youth developer for a few years now but they all inevitably move on,
    having a big side where the youth will get its chance under such a good manager is bloody valuable asset, love it.

    The notion that these players are missing out because they are only getting Carling Cup games is completely stupid, where else would a whole team of youngsters get the chance to play together agaisnt top level teams, while the best of the crop get the odd shot in the prem?
    Easy, Nowhere
    (or maybe west ham cos they seem to keep churning out stars - kind of like the english hibs)

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  • 266. At 1:29pm on 13 Nov 2008, BigShifty wrote:

    oh and to all the chelsea fans who are slagging off arsenal for never winning anything

    remember les invincibles?
    Fergie had a drop in form for afew years before rooney and the dancing fool started really firing,
    Its mayve taking longer than expected for the new batch to win - but remember they were only 6 points of the prem last year, and as this article states they are very much still building

    Wenger is playing a patient game while you buy the league - fair play

    P.S. What on earth did you gloat about before you got bloated full of oil money??

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  • 267. At 1:35pm on 13 Nov 2008, princethechihuahua wrote:

    I saw the Arsenal Youth taking on a good Ipswich side recently. I was impressed by the techical ability of the side, while many of the youngsters will probably not make the transition the captain Jay Emmanual-Thomas really stood out, and extremely dominant player reminding me of dare I say it Patrick Vieira. It is refreshing to see that we are producing a good array of players especially ones that can cope with the physical aspects of the English game which is something that we may have lacked in players coming up the youth ranks in earlier years. Certainly though the likes of Simpson, Ramsey and Emmanuel-Thomas will blend in well and compliment are slighter built players like Vela and Wilshire.

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  • 268. At 1:40pm on 13 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    I hope Whinger doesn't shape the England team , we dont want a load of wimps ...

    ---------------------

    Being a wimp doesn't matter at international level, because at international level the referees don't let you kick players (other than Theo Walcott, who doesn't seem to mind).

    Either way, England's current well 'ard, full-blooded, heart of a lion squad of players haven't won very many trophies, while the wusses and wimps of Spain and Italy are European and World champions respectively.

    When was the last time a national team won anything on the basis of being well 'ard and full blooded?

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  • 269. At 1:51pm on 13 Nov 2008, BigShifty wrote:

    When was the last time a national team won anything on the basis of being well 'ard and full blooded?

    -------------------------------------

    I guess you would have to say Greece

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  • 270. At 1:51pm on 13 Nov 2008, StattoCampo wrote:

    Neither Bentley nor Upson has ever played in a team that finished above mid-table in the Premiership, or got themselves a regular international slot. Can anyone really think they represent bad judgements from Wenger?

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  • 271. At 1:52pm on 13 Nov 2008, Adefab wrote:

    Re: comment 263.


    "As a United fan, I'm curious why you aren't more excited about Johnny Evans, Rodrigo Rossebon, Rafael Da Silva, Anderson or Nani? Oh sorry, they're not English - like the England team somehow should get us all excited"

    A) Perhaps if MU played well against QPR then pundits would be hailing the so called talent of these players.

    B) Arsenal are ahead of MU after the win last weekend. So you are further behind the top 2 than us.

    No-one is suggesting that the youngsters will win the PL themselves (at least not yet), but they did play brilliantly on Tuesday by any standard. The squads Liverpool, Chelsea and ManU put out were poor.

    Oh and by the way as for not replacing any of your players with Arsenal players... I believe Arsenal had 4 players in the PFA team of the year (which was more than any other team). So to answer your question 4 at least! And by the way that is voted on by professional footballers not by a random fan.

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  • 272. At 1:53pm on 13 Nov 2008, dennis_10 wrote:

    Wenger and his "youngsters" is one of the most boring and overplayed "stories" in English football.

    It's madness - he wins nothing. Beautiful football with no point whatsoever. And journalists blowing hot air over and over - year after year.

    How boring.

    -------------------------------

    Yes, because Chelsea would rather play their half billion pound team and get the result... oops, never mind- maybe next year!

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  • 273. At 1:56pm on 13 Nov 2008, KingKightly wrote:

    Is Arsene Wenger also selecting the England Cricket and Rugby Union Teams?

    Ricky Flutey and Kevin Pieterson are both glad he is.

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  • 274. At 1:58pm on 13 Nov 2008, Adefab wrote:

    Re: 271... my own comment.

    Oh by the way. the 4 Arsenal team members that were voted in the PFA team of the year did not include the player we sold to Barca and the one that went to AC Milan.

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  • 275. At 3:04pm on 13 Nov 2008, barack_yeswecan wrote:

    I think people have all got a little carried away with how good this 'reserve' side is if I'm honest. Don't get me wrong, they are good, but I don't think it's the complete future for arsenal.

    First of all, we all know Arsene believes that if you are good enough, you are old enough, and yet only a few of players in the carling cup have made senior apperances; which to me suggests they are not all as consistent as we have seen in the two carling cup games.

    Also, at the end of the day it's a looooong time since arsenal have won anything; will the fans really be patient while the young players are finding their feet in the first team. Remember it did take united a few seasons of transition until they were able to challenge for the title.

    To be honest, a can see a great deal of players on show being sold to other premiership clubs or going abroad; with the exceptions of probably Ramsey, Wilshire and Vela.

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  • 276. At 3:05pm on 13 Nov 2008, nickedwards28 wrote:

    Re: Comment 271:

    "A) Perhaps if MU played well against QPR then pundits would be hailing the so called talent of these players.

    B) Arsenal are ahead of MU after the win last weekend. So you are further behind the top 2 than us. "

    -------------------------------

    A - Ever heard the phrase "one swallow doesn't make a summer"?

    B - ...except you've forgotten to mention the game in hand United have...

    No doubt you're convinced you support the best team in the world. Let's see who the significant trophies go to come May. You can have the Carling Cup - that's one minnows like Middlesbrough and Blackburn to get worked up over. We'll stick with the Premiership and the Champions League (currently on display at a ground 200 miles north of The Emirates).

    Also, 4 players in the team of the year?

    Yes, you were incredible last year (falling to pieces after the Birmingham game and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at Anfield in the CL). Awesome displays from a truly amazing set of players... As stated above, you and your 4 all star players are welcome to pop up and see either of those trophies whenever you feel like it.

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  • 277. At 3:28pm on 13 Nov 2008, JGTSpurs wrote:

    Arsenal play great football. Everyone knows that. But why so many Arsenal fans bang on about them being the most attractive team around as if other teams don't play good attacking entertaining football is beyond me. There are plenty of teams that do and have done for longer than Arsenal. Arsenal's history gets rewritten because of the magnitude of the job Wenger has done, but go back to Graham's day. No Arsenal fans were decrying their team then for their style of play which was much more Stoke like than current Arsenal.

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  • 278. At 3:33pm on 13 Nov 2008, doyles_left_foot wrote:

    1 game and suddenly the BBC have decided who the next England team is! Wenger pointed out how good his teenagers were last year but nobody took any notice. Most of us knew about the likes of Randall, Hoyte, Ramsey (even though he was at Cardiff) and Gibbs. Wenger has done well to keep them all wrapped up and release them this way but there are many other Premiership teams who have been developing good English youngsters.
    Middlesborough: Turnbull, Wheater, Cattermole, Downing, Taylor
    West Ham: Sears, Hines, Noble, Tomkins, Reid
    Aston Villa: Agbonlahor, Young, Gardner, Moore
    Chelsea: Mancienne, Cork, Sinclair
    Newcastle: Taylor, Milner, Carroll
    Man City: Hart, Johnson, Richards, Sturridge
    Then maybe if you bothered to look lower than the Premiership at Surman, Lallana, Kightly, Stearman and Dann
    These are aslo the future of the England team, not just 5 Arsenal youngsters

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  • 279. At 3:42pm on 13 Nov 2008, WEBSTERMEKI wrote:

    wenger is a genius. this generation of arsenal youngsters is special. i think carlos vela is ready for the first team. that chip he scored is one of the finest goals i'v ever seen considering how he outpaced his marker and then unbalanced, he chipped the keeper

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  • 280. At 4:04pm on 13 Nov 2008, whatbill wrote:

    Good to see some england players coming through but not sure these arsenal youngsters are any better than those of the past few seasons - they are just english. As usual the london based media has gone on a midweek jolly to Highbury and got over-excited...

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  • 281. At 4:15pm on 13 Nov 2008, Nick wrote:

    Re: comment 263.


    "As a United fan, I'm curious why you aren't more excited about Johnny Evans, Rodrigo Rossebon, Rafael Da Silva, Anderson or Nani? Oh sorry, they're not English - like the England team somehow should get us all excited"

    Apart from Johnny Evans I don't think the others are English so this comment was totally pointless. I also don't think they came through the academy but through the reserves instead

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  • 282. At 4:34pm on 13 Nov 2008, CelticBlood wrote:

    yawn

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  • 283. At 4:51pm on 13 Nov 2008, Mokujin wrote:

    I think one thing that hasn't been mentioned is that clubs can only attract young players that live within 1 and a half hours of their training ground. I don't know if clubs have a way of getting around this but obviously that leaves the youngsters from a small catchment area competing for places against youngsters from the entire rest of the world for places at the top acadamies.

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  • 284. At 6:02pm on 13 Nov 2008, SportsFan wrote:

    Hi Phil

    Some of your blogs I have enjoyed, some not so much, but on this you are absolutely spot on.

    There are many outdated and biased comments from fans of other teams who are letting their allegions cloud their judgement.

    If you have the time please read my effort in the same vein.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A43501844

    thanks
    SportsFan

    PS Robbieo79 re Bentley. He left Arsenal after publicly stating he wanted first team action ahead of Pires and Ljungberg in their prime. He didn't mention it behind closed doors to Arsene but to Sky Sports News and The Sun.

    Bentley had an above average season at Norwich, nothing more. Blackburn were actually quite keen to get rid at the end of the season as his form dipped dramatically. Apart from his volley against Arsenal he hasn't exactly set WHL on fire either. Maybe I'm biased but I think we now have the best right-sided English midfielder in Walcott.

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  • 285. At 6:06pm on 13 Nov 2008, god save our chrissy hughton wrote:

    what wenger is trying to do is look to the future of what football is going to be like. i.e skill power speed and probably age so every one who is saying arsenal have got hardly any english players in their team but they have go a great team for the future with the likes os walcott clichy and denilson who i think is brilliant all will be the next pl stars. The thing is but rooney is only 21 and every one forgets that he is only that age and is a world figure so he is going to or infact is a world superstar footballer same sort of theing with ronaldo. but no offence to chelsea but as we have seen in recent years the only good football player out of chelsea has been john terry. every one else has been bought in for over expensive fees. instead of thinking for the future they just want to win constantly

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  • 286. At 6:10pm on 13 Nov 2008, SportsFan wrote:

    Ppl are bringing up Pennant as "one who got away". Seriously?

    The guy was let go after wrapping a Bentley round a tree. His attitude stunk. He is now a brief cameo player at Liverpool.

    If Fabio Capello, another very intelligent manager, begins playing Pennant over Walcott I'll eat my hat.

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  • 287. At 8:27pm on 13 Nov 2008, Jamie wrote:

    I don't care where they come from or where they have been - I just want them to perform for England and expect that the England manager picks people based on ability....

    English, and British, kids deserve the change if they have the ability - I think the days of £10million for someone who scored a couple in the French league one season are over as clubs tighten their belts so Buy Local as they say in Chorlton and develop an local kid to admire and love...

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  • 288. At 8:28pm on 13 Nov 2008, Jamie wrote:

    London destroyed Pennant - he should have stayed at Notts, been loved and become an icon - then sold for millions - he/Notts went straight for the cash - what could have been....?

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  • 289. At 8:56pm on 13 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    Middlesborough: Turnbull, Wheater, Cattermole, Downing, Taylor
    West Ham: Sears, Hines, Noble, Tomkins, Reid
    Aston Villa: Agbonlahor, Young, Gardner, Moore
    Chelsea: Mancienne, Cork, Sinclair
    Newcastle: Taylor, Milner, Carroll
    Man City: Hart, Johnson, Richards, Sturridge

    ------------------

    Realistically, the only ones in there who are going to come anywhere close to being England regulars are Agbonlahor, Hart and Young (if Beckham EVER realises he's not offering England anything anymore and calls it a day). OK, so Downing gets into the team from time to time but I have yet to meet anybody who understands why.

    The players coming through at Arsenal right now are genuinely exciting players. I don't remember Steven Gerrard being anywhere near as good when he was that age. Actually, the only players in the current England set-up who stood out in his teenage years was Wayne Rooney - a £30m 'world megastar' and Joe Cole. Both of them have gone on to become integral parts of the England senior set-up, and that is why we Arsenal fans are getting excited.

    It's always nice to see young players come through the ranks at your club. Ashley Cole was my favourite player for a couple of seasons after he made the breakthrough, it was heartwarming to see a kid from the neighbourhood mixing it with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry - and equally galling to watch his subsequent spiral into a fame-obsessed prima dona. In this current day and age it's extremely rare to see players make the step up and play for their local clubs. At Arsenal we haven't seen anything like it for years, suddenly we have three or four who look ready to take up the challenge, and it's just so refreshing to see.

    That's why we Arsenal fans are excited.

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  • 290. At 9:00pm on 13 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    You know what?

    After a while you realise that it doesnt matter what Arsene Wenger does, what direction he and The Arsenal go in to try and make sure that the future of the club is assured with the brightest young talent around.

    You realise that other clubs' fans will always have a pop, will always allow petty jealousy or some misplaced sense of injustice because no-ones praising his particular clubs youths.

    Arsene Wenger and The Arsenal havnt trumpeted these players. They just nurtured, trained, moulded and then praised them when they've done well within the club structure.

    It isnt Arsenal Football Club talking about the England teams future its the press and media. Likewise when it comes to saying we're going to sweep all before us. All this is coming from other sources.

    I dont quite understand all the vitriol and pure poison directed at our youths from other clubs' fans. Do young kids who just want to play bright, attractive football to the best level that their talents will allow
    deserve such abuse and ill will? Of course not.

    But then I sit and think about all the abuse the first team, manager and club get in general and suddenly it all fits. Such as shame, it really is the English disease isnt it??

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  • 291. At 9:02pm on 13 Nov 2008, John Lias wrote:

    Debating whether or not the Arsenal youngsters will eventually make the grade is somewhat beside the point. Some will, most will not, is my guess but why not just enjoy them for what they are now rather than what they may or may not be in the future ?

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  • 292. At 9:08pm on 13 Nov 2008, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    Wenger has not let British football down. The many English kids he has tried to bring through have let him down. Just read the messages here and you will see the number of names Wenger tried to bring through but were not up to it. Why is it that mostly English kids failed? I have my theory. They are easily distracted. There are all the wags, the diamond ear rings, the glossy magazines.. For the foreign kids, they are chasing a dream far away from home in a lonely cold place for a teenager. They have the language to cope with, the culture, the environment etc. But many (by no means all) have a plan, focus and tenacity that their English peers just don't understand. The foreign kid wants to be Zidane, the English one wants to be Beckham.

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  • 293. At 9:56pm on 13 Nov 2008, John Lias wrote:

    Someone posted : " Wenger and his "youngsters" is one of the most boring and overplayed "stories" in English football.

    It's madness - he wins nothing. Beautiful football with no point whatsoever. "


    1. Nothing ? Are three Premiership titles nothing ?

    2. Beautiful football is its own point.

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  • 294. At 10:46pm on 13 Nov 2008, JimFromGrim wrote:

    It's great that Wenger has finally turned his attention to home grown talent. But what took him so long?
    I feel that over the years Wenger has developed a deep mistrust for British players. Pennant was trouble, Bentley a prima donna, Cole wanted too much money... the list goes on.
    Wenger likes his players to be modest, honest and hard working... and talented of course. I think he didn't like the English players' attitude. More interested in the green in the wallet than the green on the pitch.
    I understand his philosophy - that it doesn't matter about their passports, it's the ability.
    And Wenger has built much success on an international approach. His teams play an outstanding class of football. But something must have changed in that industrious french mind for him to turn his normally foreign focus to local lads.
    Perhaps Wenger asked himself the question that I have been asking myself - what has he given to English football?
    English football, i.e. Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and the country in general have given him much.
    Perhaps he has decided to give a little back...
    I really hope this is true, it's about time.

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  • 295. At 10:52pm on 13 Nov 2008, Emmnues wrote:

    fabulousRedsReds post 292 wrote:

    "The foreign kid wants to be Zidane, the English one wants to be Beckham."

    Great observation friend!

    The young English kids are not helped by the media circus that seeks to make a profit off them. Thus a David Bentley is touted as the next David Beckham with pundits asking if he has had his 'Beckham moment' when he scored recently against Arsenal...

    The media has tried every trick in the book to make us refer to Rooney as Wazza (the new Gazza), and are selling the young lad's wife to us as the new Posh Spice. The media goes about its profiteering without thinking about the effect on the players...

    There are without doubt talented young lads all over England but their ATTITUDE always gets in the way. Wenger's way is not just how the game is played on the pitch but also how the player conducts himself off the pitch - its a culture thing...

    A not so talented Cygan and Senderos accepted le professeur's cultural discipline and sense of humility. A Bentley wasn't willing to hang around patiently. Unfortunately this may have cost him a permanent place in the national team!

    Hopefully the new generation of English lads at Arsenal will keep their egos in check and fulfill the potential we see in them. I wish the media could play a constructive role in their development but I fear the profit motive will not allow them to do so!

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  • 296. At 11:44pm on 13 Nov 2008, CarefreeCoors wrote:

    I think it's all well and good for Wenger to build a merry band of youngsters but we have all too often witnessed the inexperience that this brings to a club.

    I remind everyone that before Arsenal knocked off United that they were on somewhat of a disastrous sequence. Their inability to keep their heads about them in the instance of falling behind saw them lose to the likes of Fulham and Hull and drop points to Sunderland, amongst others. These are sides that Arsenal, put bluntly, should beat.

    This inexperience was personified when a certain Mr. Van Persie lashed out a few weeks back and, deservedly, received his marching orders.

    I guess the point that I'm trying to put forward here is that a predominantly youthful side can play the most wonderful, spectacular football at times. But when the going gets tough, wise (and aged) heads prevail. The pressure of expectation is a terrible thing and it requires experience to cope with.

    This was not aimed as an insult to Arsenal in any form. I think the nurturing of young talent is vital to the game.

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  • 297. At 00:34am on 14 Nov 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    281. At 4:15pm on 13 Nov 2008, Nick_Hove_Actually wrote

    Apart from Johnny Evans I don't think the others are English so this comment was totally pointless. I also don't think they came through the academy but through the reserves instead


    -----------------------------------------

    Johnny Evans is Northern Irish.

    But here's the thing, Vela (Guadalajara), Denilson (Sao Paolo), Ramsey (Cardiff), Song-Billong (Bastia) and Fran Merida (Barcelona) didn't come through Arsenal's academy either. Kieran Gibb's only joined the academy at 14 having spent his early years at Wimbledon. Wenger's products in the first team? Diaby (Auxerre) and Bendtner (KB Copenhagen) both spent their formative years elsewhere, Wenger's a good coach, very good even, but cherry picking world youth cup stand outs from around the globe doesn't make him a scouting messiah.

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  • 298. At 07:15am on 14 Nov 2008, SA-EAGLE wrote:

    Phil - One of your best blogs to date :-) - THANKS!
    I think the young gunners were totally amazing and deserve all the credit. Some truly great displays. I think one key point is the best managers in the business (O'Neill, Arsene, Ferguson etc.) are all very clever at getting people out to thr right clubs on loan.
    Being a Palace fan I saw Ash Cole in his early days at Selhurst and to be honest he was a different class!
    Now, Arsene come up with guys like Wilshere, Vela and it must be said Arsenal must have totally the right set-up in terms of scouting and nuturing of talent. Whilst other clubs have the same i.e. Spurs, Villa I don't think anyone at this moment comes close to Arsenal?
    It was simply just magic to watch these guys play with such ease, control and confidence. I think they could have beat ANYONE anywhere playing like that. Had it not been for Kirkland it could have been 10!
    Well done Arsenal youngsters and I look forward to the future!

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  • 299. At 10:55am on 14 Nov 2008, richseth wrote:

    So there you have it. Arsene parades his youngsters in a meaningless cup competition (unless you're a Chelski fan - in which case please accept my sincerest condolences) and the world salivates. It drums up good future sales for Arsenal FC, loan deals and HUGE media interest. These kids are fantastic, they get excited for a one off game now and then and play football with such a purity of attacking morale, its a breath of fresh air against the Mourinhos of this world. Most clubs and fans are jealous of our beautiful game. Yes it leads to many ups and downs but its never boring, lump the ball up the park, chase the ball along the wing, fall like Bambi on ice trying to win a free kick, elbow fellow professionals in the face jostling for a precious corner.

    I know one guy who would pay millions of Rubles for attacking football like ours. Have I mentioned Barnsley?..oh thats right I meant Burnley.

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  • 300. At 12:18pm on 14 Nov 2008, Nick wrote:

    297. At 00:34am on 14 Nov 2008, Chad Sexington wrote:

    I apologize for getting the Johnny Evans thing wrong and thank you for bringing it to my attention. But then is makes that previous comment even more or a pointless that was made. And why are you mentioning the Arsenal foreign young players there as well. The blog was about the some of young England players!! The ones that have come through the ranks from age 8 & 9 not the ones we have bought in.

    Is there anything wrong with scouting the world for talent these days!! Vela spent 2-3 years out on loan until he got a work permit. It's now a global game so you have to look around the world for the best talent. Someone earlier mentioned they were against team looking at a global market. Well it just proves how outdated he was. AW and Arsenal have combine the game with business and if at the moment we haven't won anything for a couple of years then so be it.

    What I have found extremely disappointing is the way The FA are treating or handling the youth set up themselves!! Trevor Brooking is a great man and for him to come out and slate what is happening within the setup of the whole of English football. The premiership club as well as others in lower leagues are doing what they can and yes it's for themselves not for English football. The FA should sort themselves out clean out the suits who have paid themselves for sitting on their backsides and stupid pay offs for ex managers and get people in that will do things!!

    If the likes of Sir Alex or AW when they retire want to do something within the game then why not let them have a full roll within the FA with full backing about getting a proper youth structure through out the land started. Maybe finishing of the Burton scheme with more delays as well.

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  • 301. At 12:18pm on 14 Nov 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    197. At 6:05pm on 12 Nov 2008, Rotterdam wrote:
    184

    how can you possibly justify saying Arsenal will dominate English and European football for years to come?

    that's the most ridiculous thing i've heard all day. in fact, it's probably up there with the most ridiculous things i've heard since the Gooners declared in 1998 that "the next 10yrs are ours"
    .........................................

    Chad Sexington and Rotterdam, I would like to send you some kleenex to wipe off the bile. One cant help but wonder what it is thats having you ranting here when its clear Wenger has got a formidable 'B' side at the Emirates. Whenever the other top teams in the prem try to rest one or two senior players for competitions like the CC, they struggle( Chelsea v Burnley, Man U v QPR, etc). The reason is they have got 12 or so multi-million pound stars but not much apart from that. Only Arsenal can change the whole side and bring in youth and completely dominate a full strength premiership side. The fact Wenger's managed to do that(having his youngsters beat top sides in the CC) every year speaks volumes of his nurturing ability.It was not only a one-off against a lack lustre Wigan, they have managed that against several full strength sides over the years.

    As for Rotterdam's comment above, when Wenger said his invincibles would go a whole season unbeaten the likes of you ridiculed him the way Pythagoras must have been when he suggested the earth was round. But a year later Wenger's team swept all before them. You have got to give the guy credit. Chad sexington, you had a list of youngsters you are trying to argue are not coming in from the Arsenal youth side, but if you sign a player at say 14 an turn him into a world beater by 18 then you have to take credit for developing said player.

    Other sides buy ready made world class talent for millions of pounds, and have no time to wait three or four years for a player to mature as they want to win things today. Now if Arsenal can take a boy at 14 and groom him into world class talent(Fabregas, Walcott, Ramsey etc) then i dont see a lot wrong with that. The fact some of these youngsters end up wanting to leave Arsenal is due to the ills of money, and Wenger cant be blamed for that; he is even championing the need to stop ridiculous money being poured into football. But for players that are patient enough to stay at Arsenal the rewards are huge. You get the odd player who cant wait(Owusu-Abeiye, Reyes, Bentley, Upson etc) and the majority of them just fade into obscurity despite having been acclaimed as the new so-and-so at the start of their careers.

    When it comes to spotting and nurturing young talent, no one comes close to Wenger. He who the cap fits, let them wear it.

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  • 302. At 12:46pm on 14 Nov 2008, Westdrop wrote:

    My big point about the whole "Wenger ruins England" thing is that when English players don't make the grade at Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea etc, they are sold on and eventually will find their level. But ultimately they will have received a top footballing education from Wenger, Ferguson etc.

    As examples: Arsenal have either produced, or bought at a young age, A.Cole, Sidwell, Jeffers, Upson, Bentley, Harper, J.Hoyte, R.Wright and one or two others since the turn of the millennium. They have all played for the Arsenal first team, but eventually moved on for various reasons. They have all found their "level". Some (Cole) are top internationals, some (Hoyte) are decent pros and some (Jeffers) have failed to live up to the hype. But they have found a level that has nothing to do with limited opportunities at Arsenal and everything to do with how talented they are. And in some respects, especially the likes of Sidwell, Harper and Hoyte, they are probably now playing at a level they wouldn't have been able to had they not studied in Arsenal's academy.

    Just because Wenger has a history of playing teams of foreigners doesn't mean he's any worse for the English game than Fergie because he has Hargreaves, Carrick, Rooney, Rio etc. As long as Wenger produces and nutures English talent to the best of their ability (which I think he has with all of the aforementioned players) he is a force for good in the national game.

    Everton fan BTW.

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  • 303. At 2:39pm on 14 Nov 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    Thanks for the offer of kleenex Shumba, but the only bile here is reserved for the ludicrous over the top praise for Wenger every time Arsenal's reserves have a decent result.

    There is nothing wrong with Arsenal having a decent crop of reserves but there is something wrong with not pointing out that Wenger only bought some of them out of other academies be they English or Foreign, and he is not some magical coaching maestro turning out loads of technically adept footballers. with at least half that side all Arsenal had to do was not completely stuff the job up, he didn't buy them as duds pottering about their local parks.

    The reason other clubs buy proven success rather than paying £up to 5million for kids is a) they sometimes don't develop as they look to do at 19 and b) other top 4 clubs seem to expect trophies rather than a couple of good wins a year in the Carling Cup offering a promise of some success in a hitherto unreached future to keep their manager in a job. I'm not saying Arsenal are wrong, I'm saying the press have given him a considerably easier time of it than they ever did Ferguson in his trophyless spell and Benitez every year over the league.

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  • 304. At 3:20pm on 14 Nov 2008, badgerman69 wrote:

    Those who have criticised Arsenal for their reliance on young foreign talent in the past really need to turn their guns elsewhere.

    Some statistics for England's top four clubs regarding players born between 1 September 1989 and 31 August 1992 - U17 to U19 age range. Numbers are my own so small errors are possible but they aren't far out.

    Arsenal have 36 such players. 23 are English, 2 from elsewhere in the UK or from Ireland and 11 are from overseas. 63.8% are English players.

    Manchester United have 28. 16 are English, 5 from the rest of the UK or Ireland and just 7 from overseas. 57.1% are English. They do have a bigger proportion of players from the British Isles but what good are they to the England national team?

    Chelsea have 32. 16 are English, 2 from the rest of the UK or Ireland and 14 from overseas. That's a nice easy 50% English.

    Finally Liverpool... 37 players. 15 English, 3 from the rest of the UK or Ireland and no less than 19 from overseas. That's only 40.5% English.

    Oh & at least Arsenal let a reasonable number of their youngsters play first team football of some sort - even if it is only in the Carling Cup for a lot of them. 15 of their 36 have played for the first team this season and/or been sent on loan to other clubs.

    Of Chelsea's 32 one is on loan - the rest made the reserves or bench at best. Liverpool do even better. 37 youngsters and not one of them has had a first team game!

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  • 305. At 4:39pm on 14 Nov 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    "Thanks for the offer of kleenex Shumba, but the only bile here is reserved for the ludicrous over the top praise for Wenger every time Arsenal's reserves have a decent result."
    ..........................................
    No problem, Chad. But dont you think maybe the ludicrous over the top praise is a bit justfied considering these kids have pulled the same trick so many times now in the Carling Cup(v Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs just to mention a few), that people are beginning to actually expect them to do it again no matter who they are palying.

    I do see your point though when you say maybe the press hasn't been putting as much pressure on Wenger as they do on other managers, but then again you will find that the pressure could be a result of how much the same managers would have spent. Maybe because Arsene spends so little in transfers its hard to put a lot of pressure on him unlike, say, a manager who spends around £50m per season on 2 or 3 players. Mourinho is a good example of that, he achieved relative success but with what he'd spent that was not deemed good enough.

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  • 306. At 4:55pm on 14 Nov 2008, ed1001 wrote:

    From a fan's point of view, the financial considerations of 'pressure' are largely irrelevant. As long as season ticket prices aren't being hiked ridiculously to fund it, a fan measures his team's success on results, rather than cost. Given the equal ambition of Arsenal relative to Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool, the pressure on Wenger should be identical (if not a bit more, given that by bucking conventional wisdom he backs his own methods even more than other top managers).

    I've read a lot of interesting stuff about this on the www.upforgrabsnow.co.uk blog, which is new but seems to be treating Arsenal in quite an intelligent fashion...

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  • 307. At 4:56pm on 14 Nov 2008, ed1001 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 308. At 06:17am on 15 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    Chad Sexington:

    But here's the thing, Vela (Guadalajara), Denilson (Sao Paolo), Ramsey (Cardiff), Song-Billong (Bastia) and Fran Merida (Barcelona) didn't come through Arsenal's academy either. Kieran Gibb's only joined the academy at 14 having spent his early years at Wimbledon. Wenger's products in the first team? Diaby (Auxerre) and Bendtner (KB Copenhagen) both spent their formative years elsewhere, Wenger's a good coach, very good even, but cherry picking world youth cup stand outs from around the globe doesn't make him a scouting messiah.

    ................................................................

    Err...what a daft thing to say!! of course it makes him a scouting messiah...that's just what he's done!! He, together with the world-wide network he has set up, has scouted these players from their various countries and signed them all at a young age, the vast, vast majority before they are eligible or expected to play regular club football in their own countries.

    Pardon me, but buying young talent from all over the globe before they are playing regular, first class, club football and before your opposition does....isnt that called scouting??

    And of course most of those mentioned did spend most of their formative years elsewhere...they're foreign!!

    Vela, Song and Bendtner were signed 3 years ago, Merida has been playing for Arsenal reserves since August 2006, likewise Denilson who has over the last year or so gone on to regular first team action. Gibbs has been at the club for over 4 years and came when Wimbledon's academy closed (hardly our fault)!! so those players have been with the club at least 2-3 years ...all of them...some of them longer.
    Plenty of time for Arsene Wenger to have coached them and affected their careers for the better. Or are you now going to backtrck and suggest he isnt a great coach too into the bargain??

    In your rush to condemn Arsenal (as usual) you have not really thought this through. Perhaps Wenger should have just bought the talent as a finished article like Ferguson, Mourinho, Benitez ? perhaps he shouldnt give youth a chance but then you'd moan about that too...what about the youth ?......... you'd shout!!

    In many football polls around the world (and some such as Sky's recent one) Arsene Wenger is lauded as possibly the world's finest coach..it's only in this country, the media ( generally ) and some of its more xenophobic fans that refuse to accept this.

    Quite frankly I dont think most of you would be convinced if he got a team of 16 year old's through an entire season unbeaten in the Premiership, picking up the F A Cup and European Champions league along the way.

    The guy simply cant put a foot right for you.


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  • 309. At 11:43am on 15 Nov 2008, baggies0 wrote:

    Given that we are discussing young English, I'd like to write about the disgraceful treatment of Sir Trevor Brooking. He is right to criticize youth coaching in this country. The fact is the we do not produce players of the same quality or depth in numbers of countries of the same population size. Indeed, Holland have long produced better players, and consider their numbers.
    I spoke to an Italian not long ago and he said take a five year old Italian, Brazilian and English kid of the same level of ability and you can see that they are equally as good on the ball. Then come back ten years later and the English kid will have inferior skills. There is nothing genetic about this, it's just that English coaching is poor in comparison to their counterparts abroad.
    The fact is that I have seen youth coaching in South America and Europe including the Czech Republic and Croatia and they all have basically the same approach. The trials are done by getting kids to play in small areas so that if you are big, strong and fast it makes no difference as the long ball cannot be played on a small pitch in a 3 or 5 a side game. This way the coaches can pick out the most skilful youngsters. Once a child is recruited, the coaching consists of getting the youngsters to practice the same moves over and over again, then to play on a small pitch where they are encouraged to use the techniques they practice in three or five a side games.
    In England it is still the case that youngsters play in eleven or eight a side teams and that those with greater strength, speed and stamina are picked. Coaching consists of running around a great deal, putting on a bib and playing on a big pitch in an eight or eleven a side game where long ball and a ’If in doubt, kick it out’, philosophy rules. It is no wonder that when recruiting apprentice footballers clubs go abroad to pick youngsters when our lads do not have the same ability on the ball.
    We all know the clubs jealously guard their provinces and that Sir Trevor is being locked out of the decision making process and excluded from important discussions about this matter. This is incredibly short sighted as he has a great deal of experience and expertise to offer and, if the England team do well, everyone wins, including the clubs as interest in the game increases.
    The outburst by Lord Mawhinney is just another example of someone who may know a lot about business and politics, but has very little knowledge of coaching and football in general. He is the person who should be removed from any discussions about football coaching and Sir Trevor should be given a free hand.

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  • 310. At 1:10pm on 15 Nov 2008, agricfowl wrote:

    No. 32 - Your comment is the best l have read, ever. You are not a journalist/author/speech writer by any chance, are you?

    Most of the boys will continue their careers at other clubs as some will plateau out/improve less rapidly/become ill-disciplined/not improve.

    Just because you cannot play for Arsenal's first team does not mean you cannot play for Tottenham/Blackburn/Wigan/Middlesborough later. And if you really hit the heights elsewhere, you can always come back.

    The boys are getting a footballing education second to none. They are not prohibited from going elsewhere to show what they have learnt and continue their education.

    Great post No. 32.

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  • 311. At 2:30pm on 15 Nov 2008, merryMikemichaelson wrote:

    By filling his sides with foreigners Wenger has damaged the English game and the England team and shown disrespect to the country which pays him a very good living.
    Lets hope he can make amends by nurturing the outstanding young English talent at his club

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  • 312. At 3:53pm on 15 Nov 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    311. At 2:30pm on 15 Nov 2008, merryMikemichaelson wrote:
    By filling his sides with foreigners Wenger has damaged the English game and the England team and shown disrespect to the country which pays him a very good living.
    Lets hope he can make amends by nurturing the outstanding young English talent at his club

    ...............................................................
    Erm...I hope you don't actually believe what you wrote here as I find your comments a bit disconcerting, but then again everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

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  • 313. At 6:45pm on 15 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    Merrymikemichaelson:

    Your comments are at best, extremely disrespectful and at worst, xenophobic.

    You are symptomatic of the problem endemic in this country. So deep rooted, probably due to the days of empire, that you really can't see what it is you are really saying.

    Is Arsene Wenger employed by the F A??.

    Is Arsene Wenger responsible for the coaching of the English squad?

    The answer, of course, is an emphatic no.

    Please explain how "this country" pays him a living. Arsenal Football Club do. Arsenal are not England. England employ Fabio Cappello to do that, him and a whole raft of coaches, both at the FA and in grass roots up and down the country at massive cost. That is where the responsibility lies, not at Arsene's door.

    He is employed by Arsenal Football Club. He is employed to make sure that the club has the best resources to win trophies in terms of identifying, purchasing, coaching and playing players who can play fast, exciting football that will fill the stadium every week and if necessary, maximise the re-sale value of said players, if they have to move on,so he can purchase more players.

    He also has a responsibility for ensuring young players come through coached the Arsenal way. Not the English way and certainly not with a "where do you come from?" attitude. It's quite clearly a, "are you good enough?" attitude.

    He does this for a domestic club side, not a national team. He has no mandate, physical or moral to ensure that the English national team benefits.

    If they do so, great but do you need a passport check to get into The Emirates as a fan? No, so whilst most fans will be English and Arsenal ARE an English club, it's fans are famously cosmopolitan and not necessarily fans of England. Hence a fair proportion of fans, especially worldwide, have no interest in the England team per se.

    I only go down this extreme route or arguing because I doubt anything else will get through to you that the football world at club level has absolutely NOTHING to do international football. Nothing at all.

    Wenger has no compulsory obligation to offer England anything, although successive England bosses have sought his counsel and help on many occasions. This is to his credit, that he does continue to offer help and support where possible, especially in the face of verbal abuse from people like you.

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  • 314. At 6:54pm on 15 Nov 2008, growgo wrote:

    Wenger has done as much as anybody to hinder the progress of the English national team. The man McNulty is talking nonsense when he suggests Wenger could only play English players if they were good enough.
    If the Bentleys, the Pennants , the Upsons, the Sidwells and others had been blooded in non pressure competitions like the Carling Cup, we may have seen their talent emerging earlier. Or the point could be made that if Wenger had persevered with them in the same way as he had with other foreigners (not to mention by name a certain French centre half !) who were not up to the demands of the Premier, Arsenal would have retained their services for life, unlike the 'polished gems' who eventually return to their roots
    ( its only a matter of time before Fabregas goes back to Spain ! )
    No , there is no defence for Wenger. He is only now persevering with English talent
    because the writing is on the wall with the impending FIFA ruling about 5 or 6 homegrown players.
    It remains to be seen when Arsenal will win a major trophy again. Wenger does not now have the luxury of the George Graham defence that he previously inherited , so enabling him to play his 'open' football. Time will tell !




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  • 315. At 7:12pm on 15 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    Ha ha ha........

    Arsene has won 2 league titles and 3 FA cups since the break up of the famous back four...

    Dear oh dear.......

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  • 316. At 7:30pm on 15 Nov 2008, RVP1968 wrote:

    And the last one of those titles was our un beaten season....

    Yep we really missed the back four that season.......yawn.

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  • 317. At 10:53am on 16 Nov 2008, hamsterisalegend wrote:

    Post 204.

    However Wenger used a couple of duff buys to justify a systematic neglect of English players which has seen Arsenal turn into nothing more than a stopping point for a group of highly paid foreign journeymen.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Systematic neglect implies that the English players were better than others available at the same price from elsewhere.

    Arsene Wenger has a duty to Arsenal Football Club to achieve success within the parameters laid down by the board.

    Whether that success is found by using a squad of 18 players born within 20 miles of Highbury or 18 players of different nationalities is neither here nor there.

    If the English players who were at the club had been good enough they'd have broken through. Nothing more complicated than that.

    In that respect Arsenal are no different from any other club in England.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    Post 314

    If the Bentleys, the Pennants , the Upsons, the Sidwells and others had been blooded in non pressure competitions like the Carling Cup, we may have seen their talent emerging earlier.

    No , there is no defence for Wenger. He is only now persevering with English talent
    because the writing is on the wall with the impending FIFA ruling about 5 or 6 homegrown players.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Bentley, Pennant, Upson and Sidwell have really proved him wrong haven't they?

    Oh and the FIFA ruling about homegrown players does not necessarily mean English players.







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  • 318. At 1:10pm on 16 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    RVP1968

    I agree with you that Wenger has proved himself to be excellent at sifting through his scouting reports and making some very good decisions. As such, the network he has set up has proved very effective and has led to others stepping up their game in that regard. He has also coached these selected players to play some great football at times in the Arsenal first team.

    Whilst the rules on poaching talent from youth ranks abroad remain so loose Wenger will continue to take advantage of his geography, both in terms of his nationality and in terms of his club's location.

    Personally I do not like the situation one bit regarding the poaching of these young players and believe the practice should be blocked (affecting all clubs), but anyway...

    Just to take up your point about Ferguson buying the finished article and by-passing the nurturing of young talent...

    This is typical drivvle trotted out verbatim to prove a point about Wenger which simply isn't there.

    In the last few seasons alone, Ferguson's youth set up has raked in millions of pounds for the club, with some excellent players doing a great job for clubs up and down the country - and beyond - as a result.

    On top of that the set up has produced players over the last 20 years who've proved very effective members of a squad which has won, and continues to win, all of football's major prizes, and does so playing fantastic, attacking, winning football under by far and away the most microscopic public scrutiny of any team in England.

    Finally, just to prove the point, take a good hard look at United this season and you will see young talent itching to take their chance on the biggest stage. There's Foster, Fabio, Possebon, Campbell (on loan at Spurs) and one or two besides who look sure to have a very decent future in the game to say the least. And there's Evans, Rafael and Welbeck who look absolute certainties to make it.

    So in short, while everyone drools - and rightly so, arguably - over Wenger's young players they'd do well to remember that there's a team in the North West whose young players are already doing it in the first team of the Champions of Europe. Including some who were part of the youth team that matched and beat Arsenal in the 2006 Youth cup semi-final.



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  • 319. At 1:51pm on 16 Nov 2008, hamsterisalegend wrote:

    318 - Rotterdam

    Yeah, have to agree, Man Utd have also got a good number of top class youngsters but again a lot of them aren't English.

    One minor point, I'm not sure you can lump Ben Foster in with them, he's almost 26!!!

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