Arsenal: Youngsters can and should carry the hope of the club

Freddie Ljungberg doesn’t think that fans should put all their hopes on the Arsenal youngsters, but when you consider the alternative, is there really a choice?

Freddie Ljungberg spoke at length about the youngsters at Arsenal football club, emphasizing that mistakes will be made, because they’re young. That’s part of the growth process. But he also said that the hopes of the club should not be placed on the kids, and that the older players provide the framework of the club.

That’s where I deviate from our manager’s point of view, because literally all of my hopes are placed on the youngsters. I don’t want to see Mesut Ozil or Sokratis out there anymore, I want to see Emile Smith Rowe and Rob Holding.

I get what Ljungberg is saying, though. He’s saying you can’t just send the kids out there all on their own and expect things to get better, because they lack the experience to provide a consistent and reliable lift.

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To a certain extent, I agree. But therein we have the problem of the situation—the old players don’t provide a framework either. So it’s either continue to rely on insufficient veterans who need to be sold, or invest your hopes in the kids.

I’m going with the kids.

Not least of all because I think if you asked the kids, they’d be happy to shoulder the weight of the club. It’s not like it’s all on one person either. It’s Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, so on and so forth.

And ‘hope’ is a tricky word too. Of course I have more hope in Saka than I do in Ozil. Saka could give us 15 years of elite football. Ozil has only given us six months and I don’t have hope (see, there’s that word again) in much more.

If I didn’t place all my hopes in the youngsters, I would instead be putting hope in the higher-ups in charge of buying the right players. Maybe that isn’t the worst thing in the world, since they have turned up some talent, but again, what is more of a sure thing, that some of these youth stars are actual stars, or that we can make a lucrative signing?

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Again, I’m choosing youth. Sure, maybe we don’t put all of the weight of the present day on the kids, but hope? Put it all on the kids. What else do we have?