By Chris Harris
Liam Brady won't be satisfied with the work of the Arsenal academy until he sees "three or four" home-grown youngsters nail down places in Arsène Wenger's first team.
A telling statistic in the Official Matchday Programme revealed that 45 graduates have made first-team appearances since the academy was established 11 years ago, including at least one from every annual intake. This term Arsenal have leaned more heavily than ever on their youth system with 16 academy graduates lining up for the senior side, including a number of last season's triumphant Youth Cup squad.
The likes of Jack Wilshere, Craig Eastmond and Fran Merida have made notable contributions but, at present, they remain on the periphery of the first team. Brady, who will focus solely on his role as the Club's Head of Youth Development after relinquishing his role with the Republic of Ireland, wants a lot more in the years to come.
"They are pleasing statistics but we are not totally satisfied," he told Arsenal TV Online.
"I won't be totally satisfied until I have three or four in the team, all playing, all being first pick. It's very difficult, it's a very tall order, but I don't think you should be frightened of having that ambition.
"First and foremost it's about getting players into the team regularly, playing and being first pick, the manager trusting them - that's where I want to be. There's room for improvement there and behind that the academy has done very well.
"We have produced a lot of players that have gone on to have careers in the Premier League and the Championship and that's a great satisfaction to all of us, having worked with those players, to see them doing so well."
Subscribers can now watch the full interview with Liam on Arsenal TV Online. He discusses:
- the number of academy graduates in the first team
- his pride in the academy
- Youth Cup highs and lows
- making the step up to the first team
- the patience you need with young players
- Jack Wilshere's spell at Bolton
- protecting players from media scrutiny
- why Craig Eastmond has surprised him
- why the future looks very bright
Subscribers can watch the interview in full now.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 3 Mar 2010