Arsene Wenger insists that Arsenal are the only Premier League team to field four or five players that have come through the ranks at the club.
Since Wenger came on board in 1996, Arsenal have been known for giving young players a chance in their first team.
But while other Premier League teams followed in our footsteps for a while, managers fielding players that have come from the club’s academy seems to be becoming rare again.
“We are the only team who play with four or five players in their starting line-up that come through the club,” Wenger said. “Look at the instability now in the Premier League. You do not encourage managers to play young players.”
Perhaps this is down to the league becoming more competitive. An increasing amount of top quality, big name players are now moving to the UK, and clubs no longer have time to bed in young talent. They have to compete in every game.
What’s more, young players, like Chris Willock for example, are now moving abroad to find regular first-team football quicker.
While Wenger does have a point as he does regularly start the likes of Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal are also guilty of palming off their academy players.
Over the summer, the Gunners sold Wojciech Szczesny, who’s turned into a fantastic goalkeeper for Juventus, and then Kieran Gibbs, another product from Arsenal’s academy, was let go to West Brom.
While I do get what Wenger’s saying when it comes to our first-team, we’ve not got that many players who have come through the ranks genuinely catching anyone’s eye.
Other than Reiss Nelson, Maitland-Niles and Wilshere, no one outside the club would be able to pick out any names that will really make an impact in the future.
It’s all well and good boasting about your academy when the players in your first-team have risen through the ranks and look genuinely talented. But, as it stands, we don’t have many that do.