Wenger heaps praise on youngsters

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's core of young players can prove as successful as Manchester United's fabled 'Class of 1992'.

Last Updated: 10/11/13 at 14:41 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Full of praise for current squad

Arsene Wenger: Full of praise for current squad

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's current core of young players can prove as successful as Manchester United's fabled 'Class of 1992'.

The Gunners head to Old Trafford today looking to maintain a run that has seen them move five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier league and stay on course for the knockout stages of the Champions League following a hugely impressive 1-0 away win over Borussia Dortmund.

Wenger is confident the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny, who came through the youth ranks and is set for a new deal, can help push the Gunners to some overdue success.

"United had an exceptional group together - the two Neville brothers, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, when you have six or seven who can play at that level, they are ready to fight for their club," said Wenger.

"I believe the sense of belonging is important, and it has certainly been a bit neglected in the modern game, but it is part of the culture of the club, that the club means something to you. That is important for the fans as well.

"I believe in some difficult periods of the season or of a player's career, that feeling that he belongs there is very important and that can only be built with players growing up together.

"We have today in the team Wojciech, who for me is an Arsenal player because he came here at 15 and has grown up here, Wilshere was 10 when he started, there is something more there that is where you can build on. That was always my target."

The Arsenal manager added: "I would sign today that this group is as successful as Manchester United's group of players were.

"We have to show that and we have an opportunity to do that - no one can stop you if you have quality and attitude."

Ramsey is relishing his integral role at the heart of the Gunners' midfield.

The Wales international took his tally to 11 with the close-range header which beat Dortmund, and is developing into just the type of player Wenger hoped he would become when he signed him from Cardiff for £5million in June 2008.

"Just before he had his good period I extended his contract because I believed in him," said Wenger.

"I left him out for a while (last season), yes. It is always difficult for us, because when people are criticised you think if I take him out straight away, he loses confidence, but when you leave a player on slowly he deteriorates confidence-wise. At some stage you have to give him a mental rest."

Wenger added: "It happened to Cesc Fabregas where for a period he could not score a goal. I said 'don't worry, just be in the situations, and once the first goals in, (you will be fine)'.

"As long as you convince your mind, you rush your game, so it shows you just need to be relaxed."

Arsenal are looking for their first win at Old Trafford since 2006 - and will be out to exorcise a few demons after being thrashed 8-2 there two seasons ago.

Wenger said: "For me the big results have no real meaning. Why? Because it is exceptional circumstance and never reflects the real quality between the two teams.

"It is a humiliation because you cannot say you lose 8-2 and it is just three points.

"We lost four goals in the last 20 minutes, were down to 10 men, had played at Udinese three days before, so it was special circumstances.

"As a professional you know that, but you cannot say that publicly.

"You push it to one side. You never forget it, but of course you don't think that is the difference between the two teams.

"It is interesting as well to see who continues to fight once you are 6-2 down and who gives up, you learn a lot about the players."


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