The media has been castigating Arsene Wenger since he came to England over the lack of English players that have come through the Arsenal ranks during his spell at Arsenal.
In fact during this period both Ashley Cole and Kieran Gibbs have played regularly for Arsenal, in the same period there have been players coming through the ranks at Liverpool, Tottenham or Chelsea and Manchester United have Wes Brown to show for their great English academy.
Anybody who has been following Arsenal and their youth team cannot have failed to notice young Jack Wilshere. Wilshere made eight appearances last season and from what we saw last year we know that this boy will be a phenomenon. It is not just the opinion of the fans, but Fabio Capello was so impressed with Wilshere that he implored Stuart Pearce to pick him for the England under-21 squad. Of course Pearce being the visionary manager that he is said no because Wilshere is not first team regular!
Arsenal fans were disappointed not to see more of Wilshere, in fact towards the end of the season his form had dropped considerably and he was not the star of the Arsenal FA Youth Cup winning team.
Arsene has gone on record to say that he overplayed Wilshere last season and that affected his form. He has made two substitute appearances this season, but he will be primarily restricted to the Carling Cup. Arsene understands that at such a young age, you should not heap added pressure on the player.
Undoubtedly Wilshere has immense talent and we would all love to see him play regularly, but as Wenger pointed out we can see long term burn out if Wilshere is played too often at the moment.
Last night he started in Carling Cup and he treated the pitch as his stage, he performed like a boy with something to prove. He created chances for Arsenal and was always looking for the ball. What you get with Wilshere is a player with great vision but also great drive, despite his diminutive physique he will drive straight past defenders. Too often last night the end result was two defenders scything him down. But Wilshere persevered right to the end.
It is a shame that his appearances outside of the Carling Cup will be rationed this year, more than last year’s, because this is a player that excites the crowd and above all he is one of own.
The terrible news that Nasri broke his leg has once again left Arsenal fans shell shocked. How many more injuries to key players does one club deserve? Rosicky is returning after 18 months out injured, whilst Eduardo is once again out for two months, and last season we lost Walcott, Fabregas and Adebayor for long spells.
The loss of Nasri is a hard one to take, but this could be the opportunity that another youngster has been looking for. The player in question is Jack Wilshere.
Jack Wilshere came to prominence towards the end of the 2007/08 season, with some reports that he might even make an appearance for the first team. In the end young Wilshere went out to Austria and was impressive in the pre-season matches. Wilshere got several opportunities last season and was regularly involved with the first team.
As with most youngsters he was unable to sustain his form and towards the end of the season he drifted back to playing for the reserves and was a key member of the all conquering FA Youth Cup winning team.
Once again Arsene has taken Wilshere with the first team and injuries to Eduardo and Nasri, the opportunity is there for Wilshere to show everyone what a great talent he is. What you always get with youth is that they play with no inhibitions and Wilshere is no different. He is confident in his own ability and will not be overawed in having to play in the Premier League.
Given the opportunity we will all realise what a great talent Wilshere is and just as an injury to Clichy gave Gibbs the opportunity to show Arsenal fans that we have an able deputy to our number one left-back, Wilshere will show us that we a player who is ready for first team football lat such a young age.
Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis have been busy this summer securing the services of players that are already at the club. Theo Walcott got the ball rolling signing a new contract before the season was up, next on Arsene’s priority was striker Robin van Persie. It has taken longer to convince the Holland international to sign an extension. Though van Persie has not put pen to paper, he will do so within the next few days.
This week we have had a player a day sign new contracts.
First it was Wales international Aaron Ramsey, who only joined the club last summer has signed a new extended contract. Wenger has liked what he saw in Ramsey on the training ground and in the few matches he has played, Wenger is convinced that Ramsey will develop into a good player worthy of the Arsenal shirt.
Yesterday we had Jack Wilshere sign a new contract, an extension on the contract he signed in January. Wilshere exploded onto the scene at the beginning of the season and even though he faded at the end of the season, this boy has a bright future ahead of him. This is a player that Capello wanted fast-tracked into the under-21 squad, only for my favourite coach Stuart Pearce, to say he does not play enough first team games; well who is going to argue with Pearce with all his wealth of international football knowledge, what does Capello know.
Today we here that Kieran Gibbs has signed a new contract. This is reward for a player who has stepped into the left-back role and has grown bigger and stronger with every game. Gibbs came from nowhere to make the left-back slot his own in the England under-21 team, and given a decent run in the forthcoming season; Capello could make Kieran a surprise selection for the World Cup squad.
Whilst it is important to sign new players, to freshen the squad, it is just as important to secure the players that are already in your squad. We would not forgive Wenger or Gazidis if they allowed these youngsters to leave Arsenal, so they must be congratulated for ensuring that these players will be Arsenal for the long term. The other satisfactory part of these signings is that apart from van Persie, the others are young British players, an indication of the direction in which Arsenal is slowly moving.