Arsène Wenger says the “difficulty of realising your dream” can inspire players with non-league experience to reach the top level.

On Sunday Arsenal host Premier League leaders Leicester, whose top scorer Jamie Vardy joined from then-Conference side Fleetwood Town in 2012.

The forward is one of a number of high-profile England internationals, including Joe Hart and Chris Smalling, to have played non-league football - and Wenger is predicting more players to break through in the future.

In the Premier League you will have more and more foreign players and good players will go down and down and down and you will find good players

“The hunger index is sometimes built by the difficulty of realising your dream and is developed by that,” he said. “I believe that sometimes, when you start a 18 years of age on the red carpet, it can make you think 'that is normal, that is easy'.

“A player who starts and has been educated at Arsenal starts in the Champions League for the last 20 years, he doesn’t know what it is to fight every week just to make his position in the team and to win the game.

“These kind of players [with non-league experience], once they come up, they watched on television the Champions League or Premier League and once they are in there they are ready for a fight - it develops the hunger.

“[Non-league stars] are out there. And I will tell you there will be more and more down there. In the Premier League you will have more and more foreign players and good players will go down and down and down and you will find good players.

“If a scout comes to convince me that this is a player of exceptional quality at that level I will take a gamble of course. They watch non-league.”

Arsène Wenger
Arsène Wenger

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Nik Brumsack 13 Feb 2016