This is one of sport’s most tried and tested maxims: it's not about whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up.

That is the challenge facing many of Arsenal’s rising stars against Southampton on Thursday evening.

I'm confident we’ll bounce back, there is too much quality in the team not to

The game comes less than 48 hours after the NextGen Series squad returned from Lake Como, where successive losses to Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon saw them finish fourth in the competition. It was a disappointing end to an encouraging campaign that had seen them build confidence, team spirit and momentum over the course of nine topsy-turvy months. But all is not lost.

Many of the squad have bolstered their reputations and, now they are back to domestic matters, they will be expected to continue their progression. Against a talented Southampton side, Arsenal's youngsters must roll up their sleeves and prove they deserve their status as one of the best young groups in Europe.

Nico Yennaris, the captain of the NextGen squad, has no doubt they will shrug off the pain of defeat and get back to winning ways at the Silverlake Stadium.

“I'm confident we’ll bounce back, there is too much quality in the team not to,” he told Arsenal.com. “We showed character in some of the NextGen games to come back from a goal or even two goals down, so I’m sure we will be fine.

“The fact we bounced back from a few poor results [earlier in the tournament] shows the character in the team. Even though we lost one or two games, we still played our football and got through to the semi-finals.

“The team spirit is good, everyone gets on well off the pitch as well as on it. That is always a good sign. We definitely showed a lot of character to come back in the semi-final [against Chelsea], unfortunately we didn't win it. I thought we deserved to go through but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.

I think there is more of a togetherness about the group now, especially when it matters. You can see everyone is up for it

“I think there is more of a togetherness about the group now, especially when it matters. You can see everyone is up for it, they know that we win together and lose together. That is a key point.”

Yennaris insists a couple of defeats will not derail a promising season, and Steve Gatting's side will be looking for their second victory against the Saints in the space of two months on Thursday night. Having gone four games without a goal during the group stages of the NextGen Series, they know how to cope with a difficult run.

“Looking back, I think that was all down to experience,” he said. “The fact we were playing against teams we weren't used to played a part in why we weren't up to our usual standards.

“The biggest challenge was making sure everyone believed in themselves, that they knew we were a good team and that, while we had had a blip, we should have faith in ourselves.

“During the games and at both half time and full time I was telling the guys that we just had to believe in ourselves and keep playing and never drop our heads. Then it all clicked in the final game against Athletic Bilbao.”

Yennaris will be hoping for a similar show of strength at the Silverlake Stadium. After all, this promising crop has shown time and again that when their backs are to the wall, they come out fighting.

  •  We will have live tweets from the Silverlake Stadium on the @ArsenalLive account from 6.55pm (UK time)
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 4 Apr 2013