A number of players have broken into the Arsenal team since Thomas Vermaelen was last a regular - and the Belgian centre back has been impressed by them all.

Vermaelen made his long-awaited comeback on Sunday in the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa, nearly nine months after his last appearance for Arsène Wenger's side.

In the intervening period two youngsters, Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny, have cemented their spots in the first team while centre back Laurent Koscielny has made 43 starts in his debut season.

"Laurent has done really well in his first Premier League season," Vermaelen told the Official Matchday Programme.

"The French league is a good one, and he knew how to face strong teams like Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux, but it’s a step up to come to the Premier League and he’s handled it well.

"There is always talk about Arsenal’s back four, but defending is about teamwork as well as individuals and goals are often down to a number of things rather than defenders' mistakes.

"Jack has done really well too – he has a great future in front of him, as does Wojciech. Both of them have a really good mentality and don’t feel pressure.

"You can see that on the pitch – they play like they might do in the garden and that’s a great quality for a footballer, not to have stress when playing.

"I saw at first hand when I played for the reserves that we have a lot of great young talents here, and it’s brilliant that these two guys have pushed on so well."

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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17 May 2011