Arsenal boss delighted at rise of England’s young Guns

15:16 05 October 2012

Kieran Gibbs in action for England. Photo credit: Chris Ison/PA wire

Kieran Gibbs in action for England. Photo credit: Chris Ison/PA wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Arsene Wenger believes there is an English revolution happening at Arsenal and one that represents something of a sea change in the north London side.

You need only check the Three Lions squad for the 2010 World Cup to see that there wasn’t a single representative from the Gunners.

Theo Walcott, who at 17 years of age had been a surprise inclusion in the travelling party for the 2006 edition under Sven Goran Eriksson, was omitted by successor Fabio Capello for the South Africa tournament four years later.

Indeed, on the domestic front there have been, in Wenger’s 16-year reign, many debates over Arsenal sides conspicuous by the absence of any homegrown stars at all.

But last Saturday, though the final whistle signalled his side’s first defeat of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign – at home to Chelsea – it contained four English players.

Three of those – Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs - were yesterday named in Roy Hodgson’s 25-man squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and then Poland.

And it was almost four representatives as the England coach admitted Carl Jenkinson missed out on selection by the narrowest of margins before touting the right back for the November friendly in Sweden.

And what price there being a phone call made to another Gunner ahead of that fixture as Jack Wilshere continues his return from over a year out through injury?

Should the digits of the 20-year-old be dialled along with those of his other team-mates’, the north London club could well boast five players in the national side.

And that’s a mouth-watering possibility for Wenger who admits he’s often had to field questions about the lack of Englishmen in his teams.

The manager also laid out his vision for Arsenal’s future, saying: “The ideal mixture is to have a basic young squad where 60 per cent comes from this country and 40 per cent from abroad. We get there slowly and we have good young talent from England.”

For Wenger, Gibbs’ selection - two years after he earned his only brace of England caps to date, in friendly contests - is fully justified.

“I’m pleased because it’s a reward for the consistency of his performances since the start of the season,” The Frenchman said.

“It’s always good to know when you’re a football player that you can represent your country and the national coach rates you.

“There’s a big competition going on there because you have [Ashley] Cole of course, [Leighton] Baines and Gibbs.

“It’s quite good for England to have so many good players in that position.”

For Arsenal fans, who grew accustomed, in the not too distant past, to cheering on their own during World Cups and European Championships it seems that once again the English are coming.

Related articles


Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 07:30

Unbeaten Archway light-middleweight Tony Milch intends to demonstrate his championship credentials when he returns to the ring at York Hall next month.

Yesterday, 07:15

On paper at least, the Gunners face a fairly straightforward contest against a misfiring Middlesbrough side at the Emirates on Saturday. Indeed, William Hill’s 12/1 odds, posted in favour of an away win, provide a clear indication of the strength of Arsenal’s favouritism.

Thu, 08:00

Islington BC’s Jerome Campbell praised his coaching team after reaching the last four of the National Development Championship with a confident display on Sunday.

Thu, 07:15

Oleg Yurkevyah and Constantin Tronciu both netted hat-tricks for Niva FC as they thrashed Wounded Knee 8-0 in the Hackney & Leyton League Premier Division.

Wed, 21:51

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Wed, 15:13

Andy Maud finished second on his Metropolitan League debut to lead Highgate Harriers to victory in their opening race of the season at Claybury.

Tue, 13:33

Six successive Premier League wins on the bounce mean Arsenal take on Middlesbrough on Saturday at the Emirates as joint leaders.

Tue, 01:06

Theo Walcott has warned his Arsenal teammates not to be complacent ahead of their Champions League match against Bulgarian opponents Ludogrets at The Emirates on tomorrow evening.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now