The Arsenal boss has big plans.

When Pedro Martinez Losa was appointed back in August 2014, coaching the team for the time on the 20th of September, he had a double target of making the team competitive again and also preparing for the team’s future.

He said “In the women’s team we have senior players with a big experience who’ve played all over the world for their national teams and in the Olympics. At the same time there’s a big project with youth players to develop those who need to learn how to compete. The mix of these two things is very attractive.

 “The first thing I need to do is understand the philosophy of the club and a big part of this project is to develop English players. That’s a challenge for me but it’s something I can do because football is the same game. I want to implement things but we don’t need to change the system too much.”
He recently told the Islington gazette “The immediate objective is trying to improve on what you did last season.“But for a team like Arsenal, winning is never enough. How we build long-term and create a core of the team for a long time – that will give the club the opportunity to win, if not this year, the next one.”

Finding the right balance between competitiveness and player’s development is a problem that all managers face.  It is regularly discussed in the men’s Premier League with regards to English players who do not get enough first team football.

Thankfully, we can see that the right thing is happening at Arsenal ladies this season.

Pedro Losa has recruited well, bringing on Jemma Rose and Natalia Sanchon from Bristol Academy, Lianne Sanderson from the Boston Breakers, Chioma Ubogagu from Stanford University and Vicky Losada from Barcelona. He has already worked with the two Spanish players, at Rayo Vallecano with Sanchon and with the WNY Flash and Losada.

He has also been true to his word in terms of promoting players from the youth teams as former development players Carla Humphrey and Vyan Sampson are now integral parts of the first team. He has also given a chance in training to many other youngsters who all featured in the squad picture recently taken at London Colney.

Center forward Chloe Kelly, for example, who is still eligible to play for the Arsenal Ladies u17 team has been given a chance during the pre-season friendlies and scored a goal. 19-year-old Taome Oliver is being converted to a full-back having been a midfielder or forward for most of her playing career. 18-year-old, Evie Clarke, a forward from Essex made her debut in the FA Women’s Cup tie at Millwall. Alice Hassall, Hollie Augustus, also 18, have been given a chance to train with the first team. Not to mention England u23 Leah Williamson who, at the tender age of 17 last year, was one of the best performers and was even named England youth player of the year.

Thursday night is the FA WSL opener for the Arsenal Ladies and hopefully the beginning of a successful season.
Pedro Losa’s policy of mixing experience and quality youth with enthusiasm should hopefully be rewarded with some silverware.