By Lloyd Webb
Arsenal Under-19s coach Ryan Garry knows the club inside-out.
The former defender was with the Gunners as a boy and featured at the start of club’s record-breaking 49-match unbeaten league run alongside Thierry Henry.
Together with Henry, Garry is preparing the under-19s for their Uefa Youth League fixture with Olympiacos on Tuesday.
“There are a lot of good staff here trying to help the players just like myself,” he told Arsenal.com. “Thierry is one of those people that have great experience in the game and is trying to develop himself as a coach, so it is a very good learning environment.
"There are many players in the squad that have a lot of potential"
“I was here a long time as a boy. I came in at nine and left having played a few first-team games at 23.
“To be back here now as a coach is a great honour for me and I’m just very privileged and also very happy I can pass on the knowledge to help younger players."
Having graduated from the academy himself, Garry knows how important competitions like the Youth League are to a player’s growth.
“There are many players in the squad that have a lot of potential,” he said. “We see this competition as a great tool for their development and it is a good experience to go out and win games at this level. It prepares them well for if they are fortunate enough to get into the first team.
“It is a very important tournament. It is an elite tournament where you have the chance to test yourself against various oppositions from different countries.
“It is not just the games itself, it is the experience of travelling aboard, playing in European stadia and coming up against different sorts of playing styles. Therefore it is of great benefit for them.
“You have to pay huge respect to the other teams in the group because it is a very elite competition but we believe we have a good squad that can do well. There is no point just saying it, you have to prove it in the games in the group stage.”
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