Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arsene Wenger may not produce the most trophies but he does produce some of the best players in the world:

Sportsnet.com looks at how Arsene Wenger has used the Carling Cup to develop Arsenal's great young players:

"The number of players who have come here and progressed to become top-class Premier League players is considerable - and one of the reasons is we have played them in the Carling Cup," Wenger said.

"This policy has been extremely successful - not necessarily in terms of winning the tournament, although we have been in the latter stages, but just because it is good preparation for the players to play in the Premier League.

"Denilson and Alex Song are two very relevant examples now. They both played in midfield during our 6-3 win at Anfield three seasons ago, and are classic cases of how much this competition prepares players for the top-flight.

"Alex, at the time, was not really a favourite player in some eyes - and what has happened since gives you belief they can do it.

"Against Liverpool, I discovered some more players who were capable of performing in a team who play at the very top level," he said.

"It was a high-quality game, the pace was very high and the decision-making had to be very quick."I was very pleased that someone like Craig Eastmond could cope with that. You never know when you see a boy in the reserves. When you go to a higher level, it is a difficult game and I was pleased to see young players make that step.

"People expected Francis Coquelin or Emmanuel Frimpong to be ahead of Eastmond and I can understand because those two boys deserve a chance too, but Eastmond looked to be very intelligent in his positioning and passing.

"When he plays right-back, his intelligence strikes you, how well he reads the game, so when we decided to move him into midfield those qualities came out."

"A player who has now left the club once said to me, 'It is very different at Arsenal because there is always a young player on your back, ready to take your place and that creates great pressure'. I told him you use that pressure to make yourself a better player," he said.

"When you have only experienced players, there is a little bit of hierarchy installed and expected, but with young players they keep you under pressure - they want to eat you, want to get in front of you.

"I believe this has to be good for the players in the team and the club as a whole."

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