Youth is wasted on the young

WTTGT Writer: John Montanye

There is a saying: Youth is wasted on the young.

Every time I see Arsenal losing to the likes of a Birmingham in a Cup Final, to the likes of West Brom, or Stoke, or Bolton, this saying comes to mind.

How did we get here?

After 2005 our Arsenal was gutted. Gone were the days of Parlour, Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry. In were the days of Cesc, Nasri and Van Persie.

That sentence alone tells you everything doesn’t it? Experience, mental fortitude, and genius replaced with immaturity, selfishness and mental frailty.

Arsenal are the third richest club in the world according to Forbes. They are behind only Man United and Real Madrid, yet we continuously depend on younger, less experienced players than these teams respectively. The last two years, Arsène has had the funds to purchase squad-changing players.

Take your pick from Gourcuff, Lloris, Van der Vaart, etc. Yet the Gunners come away with Chamakh, Koscielny, and Squillaci with all due respect.

This summer they are once again linked to a host of names, one more impressive than the other, but do they even have the means in house to make a run at any trophy next season with just a few additions?

The number one ‘keeper, Szczęsny is 20 years old. Our back-line is more respectable with Clichy, Sagna, Vermaelen, Djourou averaging at 25 years. Our midfield of Nasri, Cesc, Wilshere, Song, Walcott averages at 22. And our solitary consistent striker, Van Persie is 27 years old respectively.

Add to this the fact that there are no real mentors on the bench. Who is Szczęsny suppose to learn from? Almunia? Fabianski? Do you really want that?

The same problem pertains to the rest of the squad. Part of the reason they were able to compete after the 2005/06 gutting of the squad was that the youngsters previously had tremendous role models in front of them. They had pure football geniuses to see day-in and day-out.

If Arsène does not load up on experience this summer, do Arsenal fans want the future Gunners to learn from the likes of Clichy, Nasri or Walcott? Is there talent there? Of course!

But what is obviously lacking is the will and determination that comes only from experience and hardship. This generation of Gunners have had the keys to daddy’s sports car handed to them but they still don’t know how to drive.

The obvious conclusion from that scenario is that we have a line-up of talented youngsters that have not had to fight for a place in the first XI except with each other and that simply is not good enough.  For me that explains the collapses of the past few years.

You must always be prepared for the future; young players will always be a part of the system as long as Arsène is in charge and rightly so. At the same time, not so long ago, we had a group that went an entire season without a loss; a team blessed with more experience and youth.

One Response to Youth is wasted on the young

  1. bradkc@snakebite.com June 18, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    For me its simple, we need to retain Lehmann as "Goalkeeping player coach" allowing Almunia to disappear and Mannone and Shea to go on loan. Sczcesney has already expressed how good it was to have him around, Fabianski would also benefit.

    We need to bring Vieira in as ! Midfield player coach" with a view to replacing Rice next season. He made 31 appearances for Man City last season almost twice as many as Diaby. For me Diaby can leave with Denilson, Eastmond and Rosicky if we signed Vieira and we could promote Frimpong, Coquelin and Lansbury to replace the other 3

    Tony Adams or Martin Keown or even Sol Campbell (OK Campbell is finished in the EPL and CL, but could be a great mentor and even do a job in the domestic cups) should be brought in to coach our central defenders, Rice could then concentrate on the full backs.

    Up front there would be no-one better than Thierry Henry to come back even in a player coach role, he has played as a central striker and a winger.

    The flaw with this? is the 25 man squad rule, Could we really give Lehmann, Vieira and Henry places in our 25 man squad? well my answer is they would do a better jon than Almunia – 8 starts last season, Vela, 3 starts and either of Denilson or Diaby, Rosicky, Eastmond who all had places in our 25 man squad last season.

    I think 2 players for each position plus those 3 would be enough, then there is all the u21's remember the likes of Wilshire, Ramsey, Coquelin, Frimpong, Bartley, Emmanuel-Thomas, Jenkinson, Sczcesney, Henderson, Miquel, Afobe would not take up places in the 25 man squad add those players and you have a 36 man squad.

    In fact that aint a bad side?? If you added Mannone, Gibbs, Traore, Vela, Hoyte, Watt and Murphy we could put out an u23 squad for the domestic cups.

    Sczsezney
    Coquelin Bartley Miquel Jenkinson
    Wilshire Frimpong Henderson
    Emmanuel-Thomas Ramsey
    Afobe

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