Posted on Friday, 28th January 2011 by Tony Merakli
Arsenal starlet Benik Afobe believes that a new wave of young talent is breaking through at the North London club known as the ‘golden generation’, which could potentially be the future core of the team.
The young striker, who is currently on loan at Huddersfield Town signed for the Gunners when he was just six years old, and has since been nurturing his talent in the famous Arsenal youth academy. Although the 17-year-old has not made a single senior appearance for Arsenal, Afobe has witnessed up close and personal the potential of the F.A Youth Cup-winning side of 2009 and strongly expects that group of players to hit the scene sooner rather than later.
‘The Youth Cup-winning team are two years older than me but I have trained with them since I was about seven years old.’
The set of players that Benik Afobe is referring to consists of youngsters such as, Craig Eastmond, Emmanuel Frimpong, Henri Lansbury, Jack Wilshere, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Kieran Gibbs, all of whom have featured in Arsene Wenger’s squad in recent years (some more than others). With such a flow of home-grown talent coming through, Afobe wouldn’t be surprised if this formed the nucleus of the Arsenal first-team in years to come.
‘I have always seen what they can do and they are different-class players. I think at least four of them could make it through to the first team if they keep working hard.’
The striker finished off by saying:
‘I would say it’s a bit of a special group at the moment because normally there are one or two players who make it at Arsenal.’
Taking all this into account, I would have to totally agree with Afobe’s comments. There are definitely more home-grown talents getting their opportunities at the club, which is great to see. All the players mentioned above, have at some point featured in the first-team line-up at one stage or another last year and this season. The Gunners are prominent for developing young talent and it seems this tradition will not fade away anytime soon.
I always believed the term ‘if they (players) are good, then they should play’ and this certainly seems to be the case now. Emmanuel Frimpong, Craig Eastmond, Jack Wilshere, Henri Lansbury, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Kieran Gibbs have shown they’ve got the talent. Yes they maybe young and some of them will need more developing in some areas of their game, but undoubtedly, these boys could potentially be the heart of the Arsenal line-up in the future as Benik Afobe stated.
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