• Arsenal Message Board

  • AndyPandy AndyPandy May 21, 2009 22:07 Flag

    Arsenal's youth policy just ain't working !

    We hear this from the media, and from fans that feel the youth project hasn't delivered. Fans and managers call our players boyz or worse babies. Many fans lose heart and turn on players, the manager and the board.

    But is the youth policy failing.

    Youth development is not an exact science and it definately needs much patience. Something lacking in all walks of life nowadays.

    I see a nice blend of talented youth, we have brought in, and that developed in the academy. We have an Under 16's and Under 18's which is at worst developing players that will be sold on, or at best developing the stars of Arsenal's future.

    Last year the Under 18's topped their league, this year they did still better, by beating Man City and Spurs to win the League Championship. Tomorrow Steve Bould takes the first step to hopefully winning the FA Youth Cup v Liverpool.

    Add to that a few talented players returning from loan and others to be sold on. Throw in the promise of Gibbs, Merida, Ramsey, Vela and co.
    And I think our youth policy ain't that bad.

    I wonder whether actually other teams fans, managers/boards, even elements of the media, fear that Arsenal do have amazing talent through the ranks; Fab, Djourou 22 Nasri, Dennilson, Bendtner 21 Walcott, Simpson, Merida, Mannone 20 Vela, Troare, Merida, Hoyte 19 Ramsey, Emmanuel-Thomas, Eastmond 18 Frimpong, Coquelin, Watts, Murphy, Freeman, Ayling, Bartley 17.

    There isn't a crystal ball to tell us how many will make the grade. But some have already have and others will follow in their footsteps. All will be a year stronger and wiser than the beginning of this season. And that can only help the Arsenal.

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    • The youth policy is great for the clubs future, but the present balance isn't right and needs addressing. Next season could be a whole lot better if AW dips into his war chest for that one or two more players.

    • I agree with Charlie. Firstly I believe some of these players will make it for Arsenal.

      But also why not support them just for the sake of supporting them. This match was alot more fun than many first team matches.

    • Unless you get along to the youth games you will never know. you need to watch the kids play to appreciate them

    • Look its very comendable what the young lads have done. I watched some Football Combination in the 70's and you had to be a real tough to make it and you could see the like of Brady Stapleton Nelson were really going to make the grade nowadays im just not so sure.

    • so were you at the game tonight? if so you will have seen the youth policy is running like a well oiled machine. you should stop boasting on here about being such a great Arsenal supporter and get along to some more matches and support the best youth team that england has seen for years

    • I can understand Eric's frustration though, as I share it whenever I see those "we would have done better without the injuries" posts.

      EVERY team looks a bit worse when they dont have the 1st 11 playing. D'uh. Utd looked far worse without Rio than they did with him, pretty surprising stuff huh?

      But that is why you have a squad.

      The fact is that without Cesc, Walcott etc. WE SIMPLY DID NOT GET ENOUGH POINTS to be able to complain about injuries. Last season we had a valid complaint about injuries. We finished just off the top of the table and yet missed RvP and Eduardo for the 2nd half. Yeah, that's a valid moan.

      This season, no way. Too far behind. No excuses.

    • Actually Eric Ronaldo only missed the first three matches of the season, returning in the fourth league match against Chelsea.

      Rooney has only missed Seven of your league matches, I think three of those were down to suspensions, but granted Hargreaves has been out almost all season, having only played in two of your matches in the league.

    • I do wish you Gooners would check things before you post. Ronaldo was out at the beginning of the season with a toe inhjury, Rooney out, Hargreaves all season, Wes Brown, ...

      Why do you think injuries only happen to Arsenal players?

    • I agree with everything you say about our youth policy. But that is just one side of the story. Our Youth Policy and the players it has gathered from around the globe is exemplary and second to none. Barcelona may be a tad better, because their Youth policy has finally reaped the rewards on the club and National level.

      And there lies the difference. I am using the Barca model to illustrate the shortcomings. Barca had the young players coming into their team from their academy (we got two of their fine talents as well) But at no stage did they have the illusion to lead the Barca line from a tender age.

      Guys like Xavi and Iniesta have been around for ages. Improving with every passing season. But they always played around more accomplished players while they were learning their trade. They always had their Ronaldo's, Ronaldinho's, Deco's and Etoo's.

      There was never a dependence on Youth. They dipped into the transfer market when needed. They fell off the radar the year before they bought Ronaldinho. They didn't even qualify for the CL when Ronaldinho joined them.

      There was always a balance between current Stars and the future Heroes. Messi, didn't carry the load from day one. He had others around him, and everything he did was under a pressure free atmosphere and it was seen as a bonus. If he didn't deliver, it was ok because he wasn't expected to.

      Now compare it to our present scenario. Maybe with time we can talk about Ramsey, Wilshere and Theo in the same breath with Xavi, Iniesta and Co. But we have lads like Denilson and Song coming in and they have to shoulder the load day in day out.

      Youth has the shortcoming of inconsistency. Which is down to inexperience, even if you are a very good player. That is a logical thing. So when you bank on a "Very" young core. You better not expect them to perform at their peak all season long.

      Our Youth policy will eventually pay off. Because we will be self sufficient and that is always the best way forward. But it is simply unfair to expect our Youth to bring us glory on their own.

      We NEED to balance it with some experience. With right players for the right positions. So they can blossom and develop without the overbearing expectations of fans.

      There should be no excuses for not doing it. Especially when we have seen what a single experienced player of quality can do to our fortunes.

      We have an imbalanced side. Weak CM, too young players, short defenders. Wenger had to address the situation and bring the balance to the squad. So we can play to our strengths and the youngsters can quietly slip into their roles rather than being under the microscope every weekend.

      • 1 Reply to outlaws_9
      • No one would dispute anything you are saying, Outlaws, but the inexperience of our first team isnt the fault of the youth system. Barca have had their own system of developing young players in place for thirty years now, and they dont have any of the regional restrictions that clubs in England have to work with. We have had our system in place for ten years and we are only now seeing the benefits of it.

        I certainly dont expect the youth system to lead us to glory, but the fruits of the youth system should be felt in the years to come and they should certainly CONTRIBUTE to improved squad depth and loyalty over the coming years.

    • I totally agree Andy, and often laugh as people seem to think that a youth system is like a tap, turn it on and stars will start streaming forth! A youth system is an ongoing investment. There may be periods where nothing will be produced for years, and other periods where two or three players are produced within a couple of years of each other. If you are very, very, very lucky you may one day get that "once in a generation" class like Utd got in the 50's and 90's and we got in the 70's (Brady, Stapleton, O'Leary) and 80's (Adams, Keown, Merson, Thomas, Rocastle, Quinn). But you have to keep watering the youth system all the time, even when it isnt producing anything and people are getting frustrated.

      The biggest thing is to have a system in place. That was where we failed in the 90's before AW and Brady came in and tore up the whole thing and started over. Every kid in our system now plays the same way, with technical skill paramount. When kids like Gibbs and Wilshire now come into the 1st team, they lack nothing in technical skill to older players. They may lack physically and especially mentally, being kids and all, but their skill levels are of the highest standards.

      The U18 class we have now could be special. Or maybe it wont be. But successful or not, ongoing investment in your youth system will ALWAYS pay dividends.