Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Arsenal hold the key to England's future

Arsene Wenger has been highly criticised over the years for developing overseas players, potentially at the expense of English youth. Despite being remarkably astute with his purchases in the transfer market - buying Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Cesc Fabregas - he has both brought through a staggeringly high number of foreign players in comparison to those eligible for England's national side.

But it's not as though his cast-offs, who include Mathew Upson, Richard Wright, Steve Sidwell and David Bentley, have been lost to football. They were overlooked, yes, but then sold on to other clubs where they have been given their chance, and in the vast majority, made at least a slight impact at international level.

However, over the last few years, Wenger has started insisting that his club is now producing plenty of English talent through their academy and now we find ourselves in the position where Wenger's Arsenal look as though they may well be grooming this country's next golden generation in the shape of Jack Wilshere and Kieron Gibbs. The Arsenal betting suggests the pair can help push their club to glory, and they can do the same for England.

Gibbs is just 20 but has already made an appearance in a Champions League semi final. He looks calm under pressure and shows a level of maturity not seen since the emergence of his role model and former Arsenal player Ashley Cole. Cole has gone on to represent his country 85 times, if Gibbs manages even half that total then we owe Wenger at least a nod of appreciation. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere's development at Arsenal has been incredible, taking even Wenger by surprise. His close ball-control and rasping left-foot have drawn comparisons with former Arsenal legend Liam Brady.

In short, when the current crop of England stars call time on their international careers, it will be a relief to know that players of such ability are waiting in the wings, and if they've been given the Wenger seal of approval, that's one heck of an endorsement.

Meanwhile, the Sunderland betting suggest the club could get one over on Arsenal's North London neighbours Spurs tonight.

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