Wenger backs his young Gunners

BY foxsports • November 19, 2010

The Gunners boss has been criticised for developing young foreign talent rather than bringing English players through. However, Arsenal are now well represented in Fabio Capello's squad - with Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs both starting the midweek friendly against France, while Jack Wilshere was set to feature but missed out because of a back problem. The likes of Under-21 midfielder Henri Lansbury and striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas are both waiting in the wings, while there are high hopes for fellow youth internationals Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke as well as Ghana-born 18-year-old midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, raised in London but currently sidelined by a serious knee injury. Wenger is in no doubt the future is bright for Arsenal's next England generation. "I feel that we have four or five players who can be the backbone of the English team - Gibbs, Walcott, Wilshere and we have some other young players behind who can do that," said Wenger. The Arsenal manager had been somewhat critical of England's Wembley performance in his role as a pundit for French television. However, Wenger maintains there are plenty of reasons to be positive. "I am not as pessimistic as you are about England because of that one game," he said. "It was a friendly and England played it as a friendly. "It is a very sensitive period for the players because inside the clubs they have huge demands at the moment." Wenger added: "England were without a lot of players and had a look at some younger ones who are not completely ready yet. "That is the main information you got from the game." The Football Association this week announced building work on the National Football Centre in Burton will begin in January. The £105million St George's Park project is due to be completed in the summer of 2012 and is set to be would be a centre for coaching excellence. Wenger believes such a hub of footballing knowledge is long overdue, with France having reaped the benefits of Clairefontaine for many years. "I am surprised it has taken so long, and also that the Football Association has finally found the finances, because Wembley is a big, big expenditure," he said. "The biggest part of the job has been done already. There is a second step now that the clubs want to take to improve the quality of their education. Wenger added: "You want qualified people and the better the education is, the more qualified people are. "In Clairefontaine you have both aspects of that - you have the coaching of the coaches and you have the coaching of the young players under 16 who from 13 can go in there and they group the best players to give them a good education. "It is a job like any other job, you can learn. A big part of it like other jobs is for your education and the rest is for your experience."

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