News

Wenger - Problem for teenage footballers

Arsène Wenger

Arsene Wenger says it has become increasingly difficult to integrate young players into Premier League squads due to the high level of competition.

The Football Association’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, this week said English youngsters should consider moving abroad to avoid slipping through the net.

Wenger says the problems stem from the increase in quality in Premier League teams, meaning that opportunities are now far more limited.

"To integrate very young players into Premier League games becomes more difficult because the level has gone up everywhere"

Arsene Wenger

“The basic problem [Glenn] reveals here is that in our education now, from 12 to 18 coaching is very important,” the Arsenal manager said. “Afterwards from 18 to 20 the competition becomes very important for the players to feel they move forward.

“What the academy has corrected is that the training side is today better structured and better organised in all the clubs. Still a very important thing is the last phase, the integration into the first team and being confronted with top-level competition.

“That at the moment is a big problem because the difference between when I arrived here and today to integrate very young players into Premier League games becomes more difficult because the level has gone up everywhere and you have no margin [for error] anymore.

“You have a generation of players who are lost between 18 and 20. When a guy of that age feels he doesn’t move forward he loses motivation. And I am a bit scared about that because in France they play in Division Three with their reserves so you get competition against adults.

“In England you have created the under-21 league. I am not a fan of it because it is not the same as playing in competitive games. In many under-21 games there is no build-up before the match, there is not the pressure of competition, there are not the results you have to stand up for.”