By Rob Kelly
Arsenal’s new head development coach Terry Burton admits it is tougher for young players to make their first-team breakthrough now than at any other time in the past.
The 59-year-old was a youth-team coach at the Club in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and played a key role in helping bring through the likes of Tony Adams, David Rocastle, Martin Keown, Michael Thomas and Paul Merson.
While Burton accepts that the conditions of the modern game have made life more difficult for young players, he still believes that the cream will always rise to the top.
“Yes, it is tougher nowadays,” he told Arsenal Player. “The principles are still the same though - if they are good enough, they will get in.
“It is just now that you look at the quality of players, and the ability of clubs to go worldwide and recruit, and it has become more difficult for young players to break through.
“But it still stands that if you have the quality, certainly at a club like Arsenal, you will get your opportunity.”
Burton admits it is remarkable to think about the crop of players that made their way into the first team during his previous stint at the Club.
“They were great times and you took for granted the number of players that came through then,” he said. “And not just the ones who became household names like Tony, Martin, David Rocastle, Mickey Thomas, Paul Merson and Niall Quinn.
“There was also Martin Hayes, Raphael Meade, Danny O’Shea, John Kay. So there was a production line of players who came in, who didn’t all become long-term Arsenal players but still played 10 to 20 games for Arsenal.
“Yes [it is remarkable]. But the process of good recruitment, good coaching and pathway still apply today.”
Watch the full interview with Terry on Arsenal Player now.Copyright 2013 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 17 Jul 2012