Wenger Shows He Has Balls

Above is the victorious Arsenal youth team of last season. Apart from Jay Emmanuel Thomas (who is pictured giving someone a piggy back) none of these boys scare me. They’re skinny – to the extent that I can grate cheese on their ribs. But they’re also just boys. Teenagers trying to make it as a professional footballer at one of the world’s most elite clubs.

I tend to forget that last fact.

At the front of the photograph is Craig Eastmond pointing towards the camera. He’s the latest Arsenal youth team graduate to break into the first team. Back in October, he was the surprise pick to start the game against Liverpool in the Carling Cup 4th round. By all reports he did well. He next appeared for the first team as an 84th minute substitute against Portsmouth just after Christmas.

Yesterday, against Bolton, Eastmond was named in the starting lining-up.

I was shocked.

Last month was Eastmond’s 19th birthday. Age is not a factor when you’re playing a team of brutes and thugs. After all, Mike Tyson was heavyweight champion of the world at 19.

But at 19 Iron Mike had the body of a man. At 19, Craig Eastmond doesn’t.

The ability must be there, otherwise Wenger wouldn’t have picked Eastmond yesterday. But it takes fucking balls by Wenger to play a skinny 19 year old rookie in a key midfield role, against a big, physical team like Bolton – at their ground, with the euphoria of having a new manager and especially with Arsenal’s poor record at the Reebok.

Wenger, I salute you.

For the record, Eastmond played well. Not a bad full Premiership debut in which he nearly scored.

Keep it Arsenal

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