Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wenger Keeps Faith in Youngster

Arsene Wenger is expected to again give his Arsenal youngsters and fringe players a chance to impress in the Carling Cup clash against West Brom on Tuesday night.

Centre-half Philippe Senderos should provide some experience at the back after remaining at Emirates Stadium despite the chance to leave during the transfer window, along with veteran Mikael Silvestre, who has made just one appearance so far this season.

Sanchez Watt, 18, was on the bench for the Champions League game at Standard Liege and could start, while Kieran Gibbs, Fran Merida, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere may also feature as they stake a claim for a regular first-team place.

Watt intends to keep himself very much in the mind of Wenger by helping fire the young Gunners to Carling Cup glory.

He may have just turned 18 earlier this year, but the pacy forward has already enjoyed a taste of life with the first team during pre-season and was on the bench for the Champions League Group H opener away to Standard Liege last week.

Although competition is fierce among the Arsenal starlets, who last season won the FA Youth Cup, London-born Watt is firmly focused on making an impression.

"I train with the first team a lot, but it was great to get the chance to play in pre-season,'' said Watt, who can operate out wide or in attack.

"However, I don't want to be a name who just played in the Emirates Cup - I want to be there in Arsene Wenger's mind.''

Watt added: "Arsene Wenger watches you off the ball too, so you have to be switched on, tactically and mentally.

"You just have to work hard.

"I hope to be picked for the Carling Cup and am just going to keep on trying. If I get the shout, I will try my best.

"It is about whoever is hot at that precise moment, and whoever gets that chance to do well.''

Wenger indicated 19-year-old Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny was set to make his first-team debut, given Vito Mannone had been standing in for Manuel Almunia, who was out with a virus, and Lukasz Fabianski is still recovering from a knee injury.

That may then open the way for Under-18 keeper James Shea to take a place on the bench.

"It will be a much younger team against West Brom,'' Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"We will be faithful to our tradition and try to find a good balance between youth and experience - Wilshere, Ramsey, Sanchez Watt, Wojciech [Szczesny].

"We will have as well Senderos and Silvestre as experienced players, Kieran Gibbs will play.

"I believe we will have a good mixture between experience and youth.''

Wenger feels the progress of players like Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson go to show just how important the Carling Cup is for Arsenal's next generation of talent - with current captain Cesc Fabregas having made his debut in the much-maligned competition against Rotherham at Highbury back during October 2003 when he became the youngest player to represent the first team aged just 16 years and 177 days.

"If you look at the players who were on the pitch against Celtic in the Champions League, they all played in the Carling Cup - Bendtner, [Alex] Song, Denilson, Fabregas even [Gael] Clichy,'' Wenger said.

"They all started in the Carling Cup. That shows you how important it is to go through this stage.''

Gonzalo Jara could finally make his long-awaited West Brom debut.

The Chile international defender has been unable to feature for his new employers as he awaited a work visa to enter the country but he was finally granted clearance towards the end of last week.

However, he still missed Saturday`s stunning 5-0 triumph at Middlesbrough as he only arrived in England on Friday.

His availability could be perfect timing for head coach Roberto Di Matteo with the news left-back Joe Mattock will be out with an ankle injury while the left-sided Marek Cech also remains sidelined with an ankle problem of his own.

Influential midfielder Chris Brunt (knee) has also been ruled out while long-term absentees James Morrison (heel), Neil Clement and Ishmael Miller (both knee) are still missing.

No comments:

Post a Comment