The media made a big fuss when Liverpool secured the signing of Jordan Henderson for a fee in the region of £20M from Sunderland. Some people even questioned whether Arsenal had been left behind in this deal. Arsenal fans remained silent, not out of shock at missing out on a good player, but because we all knew we had at least three British players on our books better than Henderson.
Jack Wilshere is the first and obvious player, a player that could go on to dominate English football for many years. Close behind him in a ability is Aaron Ramsey the Wales captain, but Arsenal fans also know that another one of our youngsters is primed for greatness… Henri Lansbury.
Lansbury joined Arsenal at the age of 9 and has made steady progress through the ranks. Lansbury is a strong, tall and skilful midfielder who has served his apprenticeship at Scunthorpe, Watford and Norwich City, playing over 80 games and scoring 14 goals in the last three seasons. Not bad for a 20 year old.
In the recent European Under-21 Championships, in his infinite wisdom Stuart Pearce only used Lansbury as a substitute in every game. In every game when Lansbury came on England looked more creative, with Lansbury not shirking his responsibilities and going for goal at every opportunity. Henderson on the other hand showed very little creativity and did not look a £20M player.
Next season is a crucial season for Lansbury, he has the ability to break into the first team and hold down a regular spot, be is as a defensive midfielder, an attacking creative player or even out on the wings. Lansbury will talk with Wenger on his return about his future at Arsenal and his role for next season.
In the past Wenger has opted for overseas players over home grown talent, Denilson was given five years to prove himself at Arsenal whilst Muamba and Larsson were shipped out without any opportunities and in the long run Wenger was proven wrong in letting them go and keeping Denilson. Let us hope that this is not the case with Lansbury.
Lansbury if given the chance will show Arsenal and Wenger what he can do, the question is will Wenger give him that opportunity.