Boss - How I know when a player is ready

Arsene Wenger has revealed how he knows when a young player is ready to make the step up to Arsenal’s first team.

The manager has handed debuts to a number of academy graduates during his 19 years at the club, and his current squad includes Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin who all came through the youth setup.

Alex Iwobi is the latest academy product to have left his mark and, ahead of Monday’s FA Youth Cup semi-final second-leg tie against Manchester City, Wenger explained how he decides when youngsters are ready for senior football. 


“You have to measure the efficiency in his game, in training and on a daily basis,” he told Arsenal Player.

“That is where you see, and you compare every day the Premier League with the player you have in training and assess his individual performances compared to the players who play a regular part in the Premier League.

“Once you see that they can match that, you question yourself. If a player manages to consistently get you to wonder if he is ready, then at some stage you find the moment to put him in.

“Alex Iwobi came here at the age of eight or nine years old and that means the club has a meaning to the [young players]. If he makes it, we will have players that really carry the values of our club through the generations.

“That for me is vital. Winning is vital as well, but we want to combine both. We want to win and be proud of the values that represent our club.

“We have many players with big quality. The guys that are with me now like Chris Willock who is very impressive, Jeff Reine-Adelaide is with us on a daily basis, Reiss Nelson is with us also.

“We have a few players, and behind the team is a core of six or seven players, I won’t name them all now, but are a guarantee for the future of Arsenal Football Club.”

Hear more from Arsene Wenger on the latest Arsenal Weekly podcast


Bellerin and Iwobi celebrate

Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi celebrate


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