Focus on youth at Arsenal: Mertesacker, Nelson, Willock, Smith Rowe and Saka speak to Sky Sports

Former Arsenal and Germany defender Per Mertesacker is to the next year of his role as academy supervisor in the club, but the early signs are extremely encouraging.
Having a promising crop of academy graduates climbing through the ranks in the Emirates Stadium the Gunners have put an emphasis on youth on experience this summer as they look to secure a route back to the Premier League’s best four and a spot in the Champions League.
Although Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are currently competing for a place in the squad of Unai Emery this year has impressed. James Olayinka and Tyreece John-Jules additionally impressed through pre-season for the Gunners and Eddie Nketiah, who’s on loan Leeds for this season, has scored three goals in his first five games for the Championship club.
The future is looking bright in the Emirates Stadium.
“We’re very enthusiastic about our newest chapter,” Mertesacker told Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison.
“There was lots of change in this bar, including me becoming academy manager, but the philosophy has never changed.
“We believe in young gamers, who can represent Arsenal in the first group and for these men to represent that the Arsenal first group in this capacity is a happy time for everyone.”
Reiss Nelson, that started against Burnley and Newcastle in Arsenal’s wins, enjoyed a breakthrough campaign on loan in the Bundesliga last season, scoring seven objectives for Hoffenheim.
Regardless of his victory away from the team, the 19-year-old’s target was always to make his mark and he is thrilled to be getting this chance this year.
“Arsenal’s a team in which they are not afraid to give young players a chance to play,” that the England U21 global told Sky Sports. “There’s a great deal of young talent in the club ready to bite off your hand for the opportunity.
“It’s a really exciting moment for Arsenal and Arsenal fans. We wish to reach the top and we want to be big stars in Arsenal daily.”
Like Nelson, Joe Willock impressed to the Gunners in pre-season and has been rewarded with begins of the season in Arsenal’s first 3 games.
He has also been given a brand new”long-term” contract at the club, but it has been a very long trip to the very first team for the England U20 global.
“I joined the club once I was U9 but I’ve really been here because I had been four-and-a-half,” he explained. “I’ve got two brothers that are players so they let me play the old age group a few times and I carried on out there.
“Four-and-a-half to the initial team – that’s going to take some beating”
Willock’s performances have caught the eye so far this year and he has gone viral.
The midfielder produced after being bumped off the ball by Jonjo Shelvey which got Unai Emery all excited about the touchline an outstanding recovery experience – and Arsenal captured their head coach .
“I have noticed [the footage], it is great,” he further added. “It reveals what the supervisor stands for.
“Not merely brilliance in attack nevertheless defence and working hard for the group also. It shows just how much he cares about that kind of stuff.”
Emile Smith Rowe is yet to feature in the Arsenal first team this year due to injury, however, he had been called upon last season by Emery in the Europa League.
The 19-year-old played three occasions throughout the Gunners’ conduct but had things he might have been plying his trade from west London.
“When I first joined Arsenal, I was quite amazed,” he said.
“I had a trial in Chelsea at first, but I did not get . I moved back to my Sunday League club and Arsenal called after. I moved to Arsenal for a few trials in a couple of weeks after and I got.
“But in that young age I wasn’t actually considering the first team because it had been a surprise for me to be here in that moment.”
And lastly, the most popular of the quartet at 17, Bukayo Saka, is highly rated in the Emirates Stadium.
He left his debut at Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League in Arsenal’s 3-0 triumph, becoming the youngest player to include since Jack Wilshere.
And he is determined to make his mark farther at Arsenal.
“There were a lot of different clubs but when Arsenal came calling but that I believed it was the perfect decision to come here,” he said.
“It had been really a struggle for my parents to assist me get here but they consistently gave their all and got me to instruction. For mepersonally, that was lots of motivation. Every time that I arrived at the club, to the academy it assisted me personally to work hard all of the time and also make sure I only give my all.”
It is evident to see Arsenal have a very talented harvest of players in and around the first group.
The club also seem to understand it and it’s why Freddie Ljungberg, the coach of Arsenal’s U23 side last year, has been promoted to trainer in the summer.
The Swede, who knows Mertesacker well from their time together working at the academy, is charged with top exactly what the club describe as a”transition team” meant to create a smooth pathway in the academy into the mature side.
The early signs are encouraging but with much more focus on childhood than there has been for a long time, Mertesacker understands there is more work to perform.
When asked if there’s more attention on the academy at Arsenal today than there has been in previous seasons, he said:”Probably since we have made significant and very good moves concerning bringing gamers from the academy into the primary team and selling players to different clubs.
“we would like to kick out of here and we are not likely to rest. We would like to push on these guys forward and also make them better.
“We want a brand new British core for another generation. That is what we’re attempting to build up here to ensure there’s a identification with this group and a feeling. It is a large job to do.”
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