Questions have been raised as to whether Arsene Wenger is disrespecting the League Cup by fielding a team of youngsters. As I have argued, based on the wise words of Sir Matt Busby, if they’re good enough, they’re old enough. Their 3-0 win over Premiership wide Wigan certainly suggests they’re more than good enough to compete and any disagreement probably arises from bitterness. I’m sure Ray Wilkins wish he’d kept his gob shut anyway!
However, comparisons have begun to form between Arsenal’s current crop of youngsters and the kids United brought through in the mid-90s.
Bruce, who was embarrassed by the Arsenal teenagers, doubts that they will be able to replicate the success of our youngsters over ten years ago.
“I was fortunate to see all those lads come through at United, and whether they can be as good as them, and have as much success that they have had, you would have to doubt it,” said Bruce. “But they are an outstanding young team with unbelievably talented players, and we’ll see. They get an unbelievable grounding under Arsene Wenger and for him to say that this crop is his best ever – that is some statement. Arsenal had a batch two or three years ago who are also all doing well, but whether they’re going to do as well as the likes of Beckham and Scholes – it’ll be a hard act to follow.”
Arsenal’s problem, which is more pressing than whether they can achieve all that United’s youth team players did, is whether they can keep their young players once they’ve developed them sufficiently.
In the first season David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Nevilles broke in to the first team, they won the Premiership and FA Cup. Arsenal have seen the likes of Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini (before he left), Denilson and Diaby get in to the first team, yet haven’t won anything for three years. With Flamini jumping ship in the summer, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Fabregas follow him out of the exit towards Barcelona.
Our kids went on to achieve great success, winning the Treble in their third season in the first team, a feat no other English team has achieved. To imagine Arsenal’s young players doing the same, or any other club’s for that matter, seems rather far-fetched.
Our kids were a one off, so I’ll have to side with Brucey on this one!