By Declan Taylor

Mikael Silvestre believes that Arsenal are beginning to reap the rewards of their collective progression.

Arsène Wenger has always favoured developing a group of young talents over assembling a team of established, and expensive, individuals.

Although the method has come in for some criticism in the past, it has also been key to the development of Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy, among many others.

Silvestre, who is one of Arsenal’s few seasoned professionals, has first-hand experience of Wenger’s methods. And, speaking after the Gunners’ Quarter-Final victory over Villarreal, the Frenchman compared the Club’s system to that of his old side, and Champions League Semi-Final opponents, Manchester United.

“There is a talent at Arsenal,” he said. “The difference is that they are growing up together.

“The older players like William Gallas, myself, Manu Eboue, Manuel Almunia, Kolo Toure - there are only a few of us in the squad.

“After the departure of Tony Adams and that generation, maybe you could say it was a time of transition. It's never easy to replace players like that, and you have to give the manager some time.

“Arsenal and Man United have been able to keep their manager and defy their critics - and now they are showing that they are working in the right direction.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
28 Apr 2009