By Nik Brumsack
Arsène Wenger believes the standard of the Football League has improved and says that players are finding it easier to adjust to the Premier League as a result.
Last season saw all three promoted clubs survive for only the second time in the Premier League’s history while the latest batch of newly-promoted clubs have acquitted themselves well.
Southampton are Arsenal’s next opponents and, although they have yet to win a point, they scored twice against each of the Manchester clubs. According to Wenger, that is evidence that the gap between the top tier and rest is closing.
“The lower leagues are much better [now]. Maybe as well we overrate a little bit the difference between the Premier League and the other divisions and do not give enough credit to the quality of performance players show in the lower leagues,” he told Arsenal Player.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert has been prolific in recent years, scoring at least 20 league goals in the last four seasons, and hit 27 in the Championship last term.
The striker has already scored against both Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premier League this season, while Norwich striker Grant Holt scored 15 times in his debut season in the top division.
Wenger is surprised the likes of Lambert and Holt spend so much time in the lower leagues, and are not bought by Premier League clubs sooner.
“You wonder how, in a league like England with so many scouts watching games, a guy like that [Lambert] can stay for such a long time in the lower leagues,” he said.
“The fact that we have Holt, Lambert and players like that now, who show when they come up that they can produce, will certainly open an eye for many Premier League clubs and maybe they’ll buy more in the lower leagues.”
Watch the full interview with Wenger on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2017 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