Arsene Wenger has defended Arsenal’s record for playing academy graduates, and says he wants to keep giving young players a chance.

Arsenal have given opportunities to several young players from their academy this season.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Josh Dasilva, Ben Sheaf, Marcus McGuane and Eddie Nketiah have all appeared in the cup competitions.

On top of that, Maitland-Niles has progressed into the Premier League starting eleven.

Arsene Wenger was keen to point out that his side had four academy graduates in it when they played Newcastle last Saturday.

“On Saturday, we played with four players who have been educated here: Iwobi, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles and Bellerin,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.

“So, you look at the other teams who played at the top and you tell me who has played with four players who have been educated in their academy? We do that every time we can but overall I believe it remains the basis of our philosophy.”

There have been plenty of talents over the years who have played in the league but still left the club.

Despite that, Wenger believes few teams have given more chances than Arsenal.

“I agree with you it doesn’t always come off as we would like but we still are one of the teams who, if you look at the last 20 years, puts more players out than anybody else.”

The next step will be to see how many more young players can get into the Premier League team.

There’s a lot of hope about Nelson, who could take Theo Walcott’s place in the squad should the 29-year-old be sold.

Nketiah is another that fans would like to see get a chance, especially if Olivier Giroud leaves.

In the meantime, Maitland-Niles will hopefully continue his encouraging start to life as a first team regular and serve as an example for others to follow.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,