By Richard Clarke
The benefit of Arsène Wenger’s youth policy is many-fold.
It may have been based initially on the assumption money would be tight as Arsenal built Emirates Stadium. But when that fear passed, the manager was left with a cross-roads in his thinking.
Does he parachute in an abundance of top talent or allow the cream of his young crop to rise to the top?
He went for the latter. It was a longer road and one littered with pitfalls and traps. But, finally, it is paying off. Youngsters like Denilson, Alex Song, Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner have all enhanced their reputations this term. Others, such as Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue and Emmanuel Adebayor, arrived some time ago without reputations at world level but have since made their mark.
Wenger argues building from the bottom up has given Arsenal a stable squad but also a team spirit that is hard to match.
That, he believes, will be crucial in keeping them together.
“We have worked very hard with these players to get them into the shape of a great team,” he said. “I believe that has to give them [a] taste to stay together.
“When we go for young players it is as well to get them to love the Club, love to be together and love to achieve together. A team sport is about that. It is about achieving something together in a positive human atmosphere.
“When you educate players it is to give them the taste of what football can give you in your life. Yes it is a good living but it is not only that, you can get that everywhere.
“You cannot get everywhere the feeling of that human experience that a team sport can give you.
“I know it is difficult to understand nowadays. But the needs of human beings are exactly the same as 50 years ago. The experiences that you had when you were a child or in a team will remain for the rest of your life.
“When players have grown as a team together it is something special.”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 15 Apr 2009