By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger believes that “seven or eight” of Tuesday’s Carling Cup side can become regulars for Arsenal.

The Frenchman watched on as his teenage tyros tore apart Wigan at Emirates Stadium and stormed into the Quarter-Finals once again. It was pretty much par for the course. Wenger’s youngsters have put many Premier League scalps on their mantelpiece in this competition over the past five years.

And according to the manager, the conveyor belt from Carling Cup prodigy to Premier League pro continues to roll on.

“If you ask me how many [of that side] will play at Arsenal in the Premier League I would say about seven to eight,” he remarked.

“If you look at the team that played in the Carling Cup Final two years ago [against Chelsea] our midfield was Walcott, Denilson, Fabregas, Diaby. That was the midfield that started against Man United [last weekend].

“We have a good idea of the potential development of the players. That’s why I believe seven or eight will play.

“But don’t forget in amongst the seven or eight there is Fabianski, Song and Djourou who are ready straight away. But I think still five or six other players will move into the Arsenal first-team.”

And, interestingly, the core of the current Carling Cup generation is English. Reportedly Jack Wilshere has already caught the eye of the Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce. According to Wenger, other players could be in his sights soon.

“You have Gavin Hoyte and Kieran Gibbs at the back who for me have a future at England level,” he said.

“You have Wilshere of course and Randall while Jay Simpson is a typical goalscorer.”

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14 Nov 2008