It’s Just Not Gibbs

Incidentally, just one Englishman, in the young left back, Kieran Gibbs, got on the field for Arsenal against Sunderland, and that, only as a 78th minute sub. As one who is writing a new (The Other Arsenal) book about the Gunners, it is interesting to read Wenger’s early declarations on the importance of using English players. Could he really find so few of them?
– Brian Glanville

I am a big fan of Mr. Glanville. And I’ve heard that he is a big Arsenal fan himself. But when Andrey Arshavin costs less than Darren Bent, what choice does Arsene Wenger have but to look to the continent or elsewhere for players who are ready to make a difference right now?

Our youth teams are laden with England internationals. Not least the very highly rated Wilshere, Lansbury, and Afobe. Jay Simpson – one of many players loaned out to gain experience and regular playing time – has signed a five-year contract with the club. Both Championship and EPL teams are always eager to sign our young players. Some people criticize us for not really having a youth system because we buy players from other clubs and don’t actually develop them.

File that under TAAC (Typical Anti-Arsenal Crap). Whether brought in at 9 or at 16 years old, they are taught how to play the Arsenal way. That’s what the Steve Bruces and Tony Mowbrays and Gareth Southgates find appealing.

So no Mr. Glanville, it’s not that Arsene couldn’t find any other English players. There are many coming through and many out on loan. They have to be brought in gradually lest we risk damaging their confidence. The ones who would come in and make a difference right away are ridiculously over-priced. In fact, they tend to be laughably so. Even you have commented on that. And let’s be honest, other than Wayne Rooney, have there really been many others in the past 10 years who could have walked into our team?

I long for the day when people stop drawing a line between the English and non-English players at our club.

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