By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger insists his Carling Cup team is as youthful as ever, it’s just not as obvious as before.

The manager’s policy of giving youngsters the opportunity to cut their teeth in previous seasons seems to have been overlooked on the surface this time around, though look a little deeper and you can see Wenger’s point.

Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Craig Eastmond and Wojciech Szczesny have all played their part this season alongside relative ‘old timers’ Theo Walcott, 21, and Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner, both 22. Hardly a team of veterans.

Wenger says the experience of his youthful side is testament to players who initially made their name in the competition and have now made the cut at the highest level.

“You will be surprised if you look at the age of the Carling Cup team,” said Wenger.

“People are used to seeing them in the Premier League so it doesn’t look as exclusively a Carling Cup team anymore.

“I have many players who are top level and I have many players who are young as well.

“When I speak about the young players, the young players are still in the squad but they are still very young.

“We need games for young players so that explains why we have less ‘super’ young players playing. However, the team who plays in the Carling Cup is still very young."

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29 Nov 2010