By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes the revamp of the reserves and youth set-up will help Arsenal develop their footballers of the future.

The Club takes part in the NextGen Series for the first time this season - a competition that features the cream of Europe's under-19 teams. The young Gunners kick off their campaign against Marseille on Wednesday and also face Athletic Bilbao and Olympiacos in the group stage.

Elsewhere, a notable change to the domestic structure has seen the Reserve League replaced by an Under-21 Premier League. Arsenal host Blackburn in their second game of the season at Emirates Stadium on Saturday and Wenger is confident that youth football is heading in the right direction.

"The Under-21 League has replaced the Reserve League, which was already a disguised under-21 league because you can play three players over 21," he told Arsenal Player. "That's what was already happening before so I don't think there's a lot of change in there.

"But we will anyway play in the Under-21 League with 18- and 17-year-old players and you could see that the other night [when Arsenal beat Bolton 3-1]. You had players like Serge Gnabry, like Kristoffer Olsson, who are 17 years old.

"It is a good competition for them because sometimes to see them at the Emirates in a different environment highlights a little bit the importance of the game. Overall there is not a big change but the structure is a little bit different.

"What has changed is that the whole country is better structured, competition-wise," added Wenger. "We are in the NextGen competition as well which is a bit like the Champions League of the youth teams. That is interesting as well.

"I believe overall it is more exciting and what we want to create as well is an elite group of young boys who can play in the NextGen and be compared to what Arsenal will face tomorrow. Football of tomorrow will be played by this generation."

Watch the full interview with Wenger on Arsenal Player and book your tickets for Saturday’s game.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
23 Aug 2012