By Chris Harris

The newspapers are brimming with stories of young men behaving badly but Arsène Wenger insists the latest generation of footballers are no worse than their predecessors.

England captain Rio Ferdinand claimed on Friday that young players are "exposed to so much more of the thrills and spills around football" and are too distracted by "girls and nightclubs".

Recent allegations over Wayne Rooney's private life would suggest that Ferdinand has a point but Wenger tried to put the matter in perspective at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

According to the Arsenal manager, ‘twas ever thus: he believes the youth of today is no worse than the youth of yesteryear. What matters is that they learn fast and change their ways.

"I believe we have all been 20 years old," said Wenger. "None of us were angels at 20.

"We have all made mistakes but I believe as well that what makes careers like Rio Ferdinand's is that at some stage they know when to stop and when to focus on their job and that is most important.

"I believe the youth today is not worse than they were ten years ago. Overall every generation criticises the generation that replaces them but since the Romans if you read the books it has always been the case.

"People that make careers are people that have the dedication and motivation and in every generation you have that."

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10 Sep 2010