Young Guns Under the Radar – Part II
In the second part of the report of players who were threatening to make a move into the first team we look at Mark Randal, Jay Simpson and Harvard Nordveit.
Randall was the one player who should have made the step up this season. He was on the fringes last season, but this season he was on the bench frequently in the early part of the season. He had several appearances, but neither did anything special nor did he disgrace himself. Suddenly, he fell from the radar, we do not know if something happened at the training ground. I had expected Randall to go loan in January to gain valuable first team experience but this too failed to materialise.
Randall was frustrated that he was not sent out on loan in January and he then not used by Arsene, but these are decisions made by the coaching staff.
Randall has committed the cardinal sin at Arsenal; a young English reserve player has said he cannot accept another year of reserve team football. These were the words uttered by the likes of Bentley and Pennant.
Wenger and the coaching staff do not like this sort of talk; they prefer players to discuss matters in private. Either Randall has to accept that his progress is in the right hands at Arsenal or will find himself sold in the summer.
Randall was frustrated that he was not sent out on loan in January and he then not used by Arsene, but these are decisions made by the coaching staff. No doubt Arsene will let him go on a season long loan in the summer, but whether he will wear the Arsenal shirt again is a major doubt.
Jay had a great season last year whilst on loan with Millwall. He returned to Arsenal but knew things would be difficult with so many other players ahead of him. He was on the pre-season tour and scored some goals and performed well.
His opportunity came in the Carling Cup and he took it scoring twice against Wigan Athletic. But this was not enough to force him into the first team squad. A loan move was arranged with West Brom which started well, but inevitably with the Albion struggling meant Jay’s appearances reduced as West Brom searched for elusive points.
Simpson is a player rated by Arsene, but this means nothing; if Arsene thinks that he will not be able to offer him regular football in say two years time, he will allow him to leave and develop elsewhere. From Simpson’s perspective next season will be better spent on loan and then review things in the summer of 2010.
Simpson should be given the opportunity by Arsene to prove himself at Arsenal before he is jettisoned to some football league outpost. We are too quick to get rid of our young talent, look at Manchester United they have Campbell and Manucho on loan and both will probably another season on loan.
Nordveit joined us in the summer of 2007. He joined with great things expected from him, but his first season was blighted with injury. The departure of Senderos in the summer was the opportunity for him to push for a first team spot, but instead he joined Salamanca on loan. The loan spell was a disaster; he returned early and has since gone on loan to Lillestrom.
Nordveit needs to show the boss that he has the ability to step up a level. His two seasons at Arsenal have been disappointing for everyone involved. His current loan spell is very important as Wenger will be looking to see how he has developed, clearly Reserve football is of too low a level of the Norwegian. This summer will decide if Harvard can make the leap to the first team squad.