Arsenal’s academy has produced some fine players down the years, but who have been the greatest Arsenal youngsters to pull on the red and white?
A homegrown player donning the red and white and leading the team success evokes no end of pride. Even after the player has left the club, there’s still some fondness attached to them, as if they still represent the club and everything it stands for.
Over the years, the Arsenal academy hasn’t been the most prolific talent factory around, but it has produced some exceptional footballers. Getting the list down to just five was a tough order, and a couple of choices may seem controversial.
Nonetheless, here are my five greatest Arsenal youngsters of all time.
Time heals most wounds, and with its passing, Arsenal fans have come to accept that Ashley Cole was a fantastic left back.
A striker-turned-winger-turned-left-back, Cole broke through into the Arsenal first team in 1999.
By 2001, he was Arsene Wenger’s first choice.
His pace and skill down the left flank was a weapon for his team, while at the back he was part of tough-to-beat units.
The double in 2002 was a good enough accomplishment, but being a part of the Arsenal Invincibles has engraved his name in history.
Cole lost a lot of love and good-will for the manner in which he joined Chelsea in 2006. It was there, though, that he continued to hoover up trophies.
Another Premier League title, four FA Cups, a League Cup, the Europa League and even the Champions League marked his time in west London.
107 caps for England rounds off a fine career at the top level.