David Luiz says Arsenal’s young players have earned their chances with the hard work they’re putting in, and it’s not fair to suggest they’re being gifted opportunities.
Once again, a couple of young players stole the show for Arsenal on Monday night against Manchester United. Bukayo Saka put in a starring performance, assisting the equaliser and almost scoring one of his own.
Matteo Guendouzi was also fantastic, making his 55th Arsenal appearance at the age of 20. Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock made substitute appearances too as their first full season in the senior team continues.
When asked whether it was a good thing that young players were getting chances, David Luiz insisted it was nothing they hadn’t earned.
“I think we are not (simply) giving the opportunity to the young players, they deserve that,” Luiz responded. “They are working hard and show that every day. Even with being so young, they know how to play football.
“I think now all the young players are more mature than before, I think our team has a lot of talent.”
If anything, Arsenal fans would probably be happier if their young players got a few more chances at the moment. Willock scored in both of his last two starts in all competitions, but he hasn’t made the starting lineup in the Premier League since August.
Similarly, Gabriel Martinelli bagged a brace against Nottingham Forest last week, but other than a six-minute showing on the opening day of the season that’s was the only game he’s played in the campaign so far.
The Europa League group stage is a great place to integrate the younger players further, so Unai Emery needs to give a few of them another opportunity on Thursday now.