By Rob Kelly
Neil Banfield is delighted with the Reserve team’s season - although he feels they could have pushed to win the title.
Arsenal's second string finished third in the Premier Reserve League South, five points behind table-topping Aston Villa.
Banfield has always been keen to stress that player development is key at this level, but he admits he had hoped to finish the campaign on top.
“Overall I’ve been delighted with the season,” he told Arsenal Player. “An overview of it is that we started off well, and then lost a few players who went out on loan so we tend to dip and then we came back quite strongly.
“I'm a little bit disappointed [to finish third]. I really felt we could have pushed to win it this year. I think looking back it has been a strong, hard season and a lot of players have done well, while one or two have surprised us.
“I'm a bit disappointed we didn't push for the league, but on the other side of the coin it has been really good on the development side of things.”
Banfield has long been an advocate of change in the Premier Reserve League, but he is more than happy with the way it is currently being run.
“Over the last two seasons I have been really pleased with it,” he said. “Every game is a strong match with different challenges and it has been really good. The lads really enjoy it as well, so it has been a big plus.
“I think [it could be improved] if we could mirror the first team, so we play home and away. I think it needs a few more games.
“But with the introduction of the NextGen Series, there should be enough games for the reserve players, so we can see a big development in the football they are playing.”
Watch the full interview with Neil on Arsenal Player.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 28 May 2012