Press conference

‘We need to give the young players a chance’

The location of our Europa League group has hogged the headlines over the last 24 hours, but that won’t be on the mind of our players.

Especially Charlie Gilmour, Zech Medley, Dejan Iliev, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Dominic Thompson, Tyreece John-Jules and Bukayo Saka.

Those seven are on the cusp of competitive first-team debuts after being drafted into a youthful squad for this trip to Ukraine to face Vorskla Poltava.

Unai Emery has had a close look at our academy hopefuls in training and he believes it is right to give them a chance.

“We have a big responsibility with young players,” he said. “At Arsenal, every year we are working very well with young players.

“When there are matches like Thursday’s in a very big week for us, where we are playing a lot of matches, we have players to cover here. We need to give them chances.

“They are working with us in all the sessions and also in pre-season. They are coming with us because we can give them chances tomorrow and also because we would prefer for some players to not do this long travelling. We prefer for them to stay in London working for the next match on Sunday.

“The Europa League is very important for us and it’s very important for us to win on Thursday and come first in this group. The young players are going to have chances.

“Then you know that some players like Eddie Nketiah, like Willock, like Emile Smith Rowe, have played. Then other younger players are coming through with us like Bukayo, Dominic, Zech and Charlie. For us, it’s not different because they are working with us every day.”

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