Dennis Bergkamp says Arsenal’s current situation is difficult and it hurts sometimes, and he believes they should be doing better than they are.
It’s certainly true that a lot has changed since Dennis Bergkamp left Arsenal. The forward spent 11 years in North London and won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three Community Shields, as well as a huge number of individual awards.
Arsenal do have a few FA Cups this decade, but little else to show for recent seasons, and even the Champions League football the fans enjoyed for so many years is now gone.
Speaking on Ian Wright’s YouTube channel, Bergkamp talked about the changes from his playing days, with a smaller contingent of English players and what he believes is a loss of some of the connection to Arsenal in the squad as a result.
“It’s different of course to what I was used to, with English players and a few foreign, now it’s moved the other way,” Bergkamp said (via Metro).
“It’s difficult to say whether it is better or worse but better is always shown in trophies, which aren’t there at the moment.
“On the one hand, there are so many clubs who improved so quickly to a high level, whereas Arsenal, maybe improved, but not to that level.
“It’s hard, it’s difficult and it hurts sometimes. You feel sometimes that Arsenal should do better but I’m still hoping.”
It’s certainly true that Arsenal have been struggling to find a consistent group of English players in recent years, with highly-rated prospects like Jack Wilshere or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain failing to live up to the hype and eventually moving on.
Calum Chambers (24) is the oldest outfield Englishman in the squad, emphasising how few are sticking around until their peak years.
At the same time, there’s a group of youngsters breaking through with great potential right now. Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and many others yet to make the step up all look hugely promising, so maybe that will help reconnect the club with England in a few years’ time.
Personally, I feel the club have bigger problems than the nationality of their players, but there certainly are benefits to having players in the national side.
Just look at the way the media treat Spurs, defending every dive from Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Dele Alli because they’ll soon be doing the same in England shirts, or pretending Eric Dier is a real footballer. It can’t hurt to have that kind of unconditional support.