Arsenal’s Academy Produces Great Strikers But What About The Defenders?
Written by Arsenal Kid.
Has anyone noticed that most of the teenagers coming through from the youth teams are all attack minded players? In recent years, we have had players like Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Jack Wilshere and more recently Henri Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel Thomas being blooded into the first team. In the youth ranks we have the next generation of potential players who can make the grade to the first team like Benik Afobe, Luke Freeman, Gilles Sunu et al who have been making headlines with the youth international teams.
So what’s happening to the defenders? Besides Johan Djourou, I have not seen or heard anyone close to making the grade into the first team. Last season we saw, Craig Eastmond and Thomas Cruize having a run in the first team in the Carling Cup and Champions League but since then nothing much have been heard of the defensive players. Is it possible that our academy is not capable of producing talented defenders given their focus on attacking play. If Djourou is anything to go by, it is no surprise that no of the youth team members can make the grade into the first team.
It seems strange that when these players were first scouted they seem to be the best of the bunch but after being in the academy for some time their abilities have either stagnant or gone worst. Case in point, Philipe Senderos, who came in as the most wanted young defender of his generation but left after a whole series of calamitous performances. Another defender Havard Nordveit, was supposed to be the new ‘Tony Adams’ when he signed on but he is nowhere near that today.
It just seems strange to me that the academy can produce world class attackers but cannot replicate the same with defenders. It is something which Arsene Wenger would need to address as he seeks to balance his squad with old hands and new wonders every year. There are not many world class defenders available and they don’t come cheap so having the academy produce these wonders would be the best solution in the long run.