By Declan Taylor
This season’s League and Cup ‘double’ has capped a remarkable journey for Arsenal’s gifted group of youngsters, according to Jack Wilshere.
After racking up a healthy 4-1 advantage in Friday’s first leg, the Gunners completed the job at Anfield with a hard-fought 2-1 victory on Tuesday night. And having lifted the Premier Academy League trophy only nine days previous, the 6-2 aggregate victory secured a spectacular ‘double’ for Steve Bould’s side.
Wilshere has impressed in his eight first-team outings this term and a string of classy performances for the Under-18s has shown that the diminutive playmaker is a class apart among his peers.
But for him, this season’s trophy success is just reward for the whole group’s hard graft throughout the age groups.
“If you think about it, we’ve been together since we were nine and we’ve wanted to win things together ever since then,” Wilshere told Arsenal.com on the Anfield turf. “Now we have gone and won the Youth Cup – it’s unbelievable.
“We knew we had the strength in depth in this team to do it and it’s just great really to win them both. We always had belief we could do it. We just carried on showing what we could do and the cups came.
“It’s great, this is basically what we’ve been working for all season. It’s just an amazing feeling.”
As well as providing this side with their first taste of prestigious silverware, the season has introduced many of Bould’s boys to the importance of winning.
It’s a new and crucial lesson for the Club’s starlets but Wilshere explained how Arsenal’s values are never compromised in the academy.
“Steve always tells us to play the right football, that’s what we have been doing and in the end it has paid off,” he said.
“In the Youth Cup it’s completely different to League football. This is knock-out football so you learn how to win when you have to. It’s a different type of feeling.
“That can be better sometimes because you know you have to win – and that is so important.”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 27 May 2009