Arsenal U18 boss Ken Gillard: The club is in a good place at the moment


Ken Gillard. CREDIT ARSENAL FC - Credit: Archant

Arsenal’s highly-rated U18s boss Ken Gillard spoke to the Islington Gazette after his side’s mature 2-0 victory over Northampton Town’s battling U18 side to progress to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. Read on for what he said to Layth Yousif at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park.

Hard fought game Ken, what are your views on it…

Yes it was a very tough game. Northampton were a really good side. Really well organised. We did well at times but we could have done better. It was pleasing to get through our first game in this season’s FA Youth Cup.

Northampton showed character against us. They’re tough to break down. We had to be patient. Ultimately we got the victory and that’s the main thing on a night like this.

Which players impressed you?

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Fol Balogun took his goal well. That’s what he does well. He’s scored a lot of goals for us. He’s a threat for us with his pace. The goal settled us down a bit.

Did Zak Swanson mean his goal?

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You’ll have to ask him! If that was me I would have said I’d meant it!

There’s a lot of players you might have played today but are with Unai Emery’s squad ahead of the Europa League clash with Qarabag. Do you see them coming back or have they now moved to a level beyond the youth cup?

The most important thing is we’re moving them onto levels above. That’s our job, to push them onto the first team. If they come back to us then brilliant but if they stay with the first team then even better.

You must be delighted by Unai Emery giving young players a chance?

It’s fantastic for the boys. They’re great kids. They’re working hard. The manager [Emery] is working hard. The club is in a good place at the moment.

Did you speak to any of the lads after their debuts in the Ukraine?

Yes, I spoke to them, They’re good kids. It’s great to see them developing so well. The younger you are the more you take things in your stride. It’s really good.

Unai Emery has been singing your praises…

It’s fantastic the lads are doing so well. There’s a lot of hard work that is undertaken by everyone behind the scenes – from the boss [Emery] to my lads. It’s great to see them come on and enjoy the occasion and see them go through.

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