By Nick Ames
Last Sunday’s match against Manchester United may not have yielded the outcome everyone at Arsenal wanted, but Robin van Persie was delighted with the performances of two young team-mates.
The captain paid tribute to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nico Yennaris - teenagers who, on their first Premier League start and top-flight debut respectively, turned plenty of heads among the watching millions.
Alex laid on the 70th-minute pass that allowed Van Persie to score the equaliser and the Dutchman told Sunday’s Official Matchday Programme that he showed some of the key qualities needed at the top level.
“Alex can be proud of giving a performance like that on his first Premier League start,” said Van Persie.
“He moved nicely, worked hard, did good things on the ball and protected it well, which is particularly important against big teams. He can look back at a good game of football and we were all really pleased for him.”
Yennaris entered the fray at half-time, impressing in the right-back position with a series of strong forward runs while also keeping the shackles on United winger Nani.
“I’ve seen him improve his game massively of late, even over the last couple of weeks,” revealed Van Persie.
“What I like about him is that he always looks forward when he has the ball. He’s a right back who wants to play and bring others into the game - there aren’t many full backs who always do that, but for me it makes a massive difference.
“On top of that, you could see that Nani became less dangerous in the second half and Nico played a big part in that. Like Alex, he can be proud of himself; to play like that in such a big game shows great promise.”
You can read Robin's captain notes in Sunday’s Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe by calling 08700 20 20 20.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 27 Jan 2012