By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger says there is a simple reason for the emergence of an British core at Arsenal - an improving youth policy in the UK.
Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain signed new contracts on Wednesday and it was put to Wenger at his pre-match press conference that this illustrated a change of policy in his approach to squad-building.
"Not necessarily," replied the Frenchman. "It’s just the coincidence that we have good, young English players.
"It’s a deliberate policy because I bought Oxlade-Chamberlain for a lot of money because I know that it’s important that we have good, young English players.
"The youth policy has improved in England and therefore we produce more good players in England. We try to take advantage of it."
All the same, Wenger admits that it's important to build a foundation of top-class talent at Emirates Stadium who play the Arsenal way.
"Yes of course, because technical stability is important and the game we want to play demands a little bit of blind understanding," said Wenger. "Therefore it is important that we keep the same players together.
"We might have a bit more of a chance now to keep the young players together than we had before. That's why it's good news for the Club."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 20 Dec 2012