EXCLUSIVE: Liam Brady calls for Arsenal boss Unai Emery to ‘give the youngsters a chance’
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Ex-Arsenal midfielder and the club’s former Academy Director, Liam Brady believes that Unai Emery should give the Gunners’ talented crop of youngsters more first-team opportunities.
The Irishman played for Arsenal between 1973 and 1980, returning as Head of Youth Development and Academy Director in 1996.
Under Brady, the club's youth sides won three FA Youth Cup's in 2000, 2001 and 2009 and numerous youth league titles.
A number of Arsenal's young stars have been given opportunities in Emery's first season in North London, most notably Ainsley Maitland-Niles who made 30 first-team appearances last season.
Emile Smith Rowe also impressed, with the 18-year-old scoring six times in 10 games before his January loan move to Red Bull Leipzig.
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Reiss Nelson also spent time in Germany, with the winger scoring seven goals in 23 league games for Hoffenheim during his season-long loan.
Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka were given first-team minutes at the Emirates last season, while the likes of Xavier Amaechi - who travelled with the squad for the Europa League final - and Tyreece John-Jules look close to making the step up.
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Speaking exclusively to Islington Gazette sports reporter Dan Mountney, Brady urged Emery to give the club's academy products more of a chance.
"They've got big chances all those boys," he said.
"I think sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side and you go and buy players but they don't match up to the expectation.
"If you give the youngsters a chance, as Ainsley Maitland-Niles has demonstrated, they can surprise you.
"As you mentioned, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson, they've got a real good chance."
Liam Brady spoke to Dan Mountney at the Willow Foundation Charity Golf Day at Brocket Hall. Willow, a charity set up by Bob and his wife, Megs in memory of their daughter Anna, organises special days for seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40. To donate to Willow visit www.willowfoundation.org.uk/donate.