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Former Arsenal and Germany defender Per Mertesacker is into the second year of his position as academy supervisor at the club, however, the early signs are very encouraging.
Having a promising crop of academy graduates climbing through the ranks in the Emirates Stadium that the Gunners have placed an emphasis on youth within experience this summer as they look to secure a route back to the Premier League’s best four and also a spot in the Champions League.
While Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are currently competing for a place in the squad of Unai Emery this season has impressed. James Olayinka and Tyreece John-Jules also impressed during pre-season for the Eddie and Gunners Nketiah has scored three goals in his first five games for the Championship club.
The future is looking bright at the Emirates Stadium.
“We are very excited about our newest chapter,” Mertesacker told Sky Sports’ Patrick Davison.
“There has been a lot of change in this club, such as me becoming academy manager, but the doctrine hasn’t changed.
“We think in young gamers, who will symbolize Arsenal from the first group and for these men to represent that the Arsenal first team in this capacity is a happy time for us all.”
Reiss Nelson, who started from Burnley and Newcastle in the wins of Arsenal, appreciated a breakthrough effort on loan in the Bundesliga last season.
Despite his victory away from the team, the goal of the 19-year-old was always to make his mark at Arsenal, and he’s thrilled to be receiving that opportunity this season.
“Arsenal’s a club where they are not afraid to give young players an opportunity to play,” the England U21 global told Sky Sports. “There is a great deal of young talent in the club ready to bite your hand off for the opportunity.
“It’s a really enjoyable period for Arsenal and Arsenal fans. We want to reach the very best and we want to be big stars at Arsenal a while.”
Like Nelson, Joe Willock impressed in and has been rewarded with begins of the season from Arsenal’s first 3 matches.
He has also been given a brand new”long-term” contract in the club, but it has been a very long journey to the first group for the England U20 global.
“I joined the club when I was U9 but I’ve really been here because I was four-and-a-half,” he said. “I’ve got two brothers that are players in order that they allow me to play the elderly age group a few occasions and that I carried on from there.
“Four-and-a-half into the first team – that is likely to take some beating”
Willock’s performances have caught the eye so far this year and he has already gone viral.
The midfielder made an fantastic recovery tackle after being bumped off the chunk by Jonjo Shelvey moments before, which got the touchline was all excited on by Unai Emery – and their head coach was captured by Arsenal on cam.
“I’ve seen [the footage], it is great,” he added. “It shows what the manager stands for.
“Not only brilliance in assault but defence and working hard for the group too. It reveals just how much he cares about this sort of material.”
Emile Smith Rowe is to feature in the Arsenal first team this season because of injury, but Emery in the Europa League called upon last year him.
The 19-year-old played three occasions throughout the Gunners’ rush but had things turned out otherwise, he would have been plying his trade in west London.
“When I joined Arsenal, I was very surprised,” he explained.
“I had a trial in Chelsea at first, but I didn’t get in. I went back to my Sunday League team and Arsenal called straight after. I went for a couple trials to Arsenal in a couple weeks later and I got.
“But at that young age I was not really considering the first team since it was such a shock for me to be here at the moment.”
And lastly, the youngest of the quartet at 17, Bukayo Saka, is highly rated in the Emirates Stadium.
He made his debut last November at Vorskla Poltava at the Europa League in Arsenal’s 3-0 win, being the youngest player to feature for the Gunners since Jack Wilshere.
And he is determined to make his mark farther at Arsenal.
“There were plenty of different clubs but when Arsenal came calling however, that I believed it was the right decision to come here,” he said.
“It was really a battle for my parents to help me get here but they gave their all and got me in to instruction. That was lots of motivation. Every time that I came to the club, to this academy it assisted me personally to work hard all the time and make sure I only give all.”
It’s clear to see Arsenal possess a very talented harvest of players in and about the group.
The club seem to know it and it is why the trainer of the U23 side last time of Arsenal, Freddie Ljungberg, had been promoted to coach in the summer.
The Swede, who understands Mertesacker nicely from their time together working from the academy, is charged with top what the club explain as a”transition team” meant to create a smooth pathway in the academy into the side.
The early indications are encouraging but with more focus on childhood than there’s been for a long time, Mertesacker knows there’s more work to perform.
When asked if there’s more focus on the academy in Arsenal now than there has been in prior seasons, he said:”Probably because we’ve made major and excellent moves concerning bringing gamers in the academy to the first team and promoting players to different clubs.
“we would like to kick out of here and we are not likely to break. Make them and we wish to push on these men forward.
“We want a fresh British center for another generation. That’s what we’re attempting to build here to ensure there’s a identification with this team and a feeling. It is a large job to do.”
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