Arsenal Reserve team coach Neil Banfield has praised the progress of five of his protégés after proudly watching them rise through the ranks at London Colney to become important members of Arsene Wenger’s first team squad.
Reflecting on the progress of Emmanuel Frimpong, now on loan at Wolves, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szcszesny and Johan Djourou the 49-year-old told the Arsenal official matchday programme:
“Emmanuel Frimpong has done exceptionally well, along with Jack, Kieran, Wojciech and Johan – they’ve come through the Club’s youth development structure and done brilliantly.
“When you get there you’ve done well, they know it and hopefully there will be some more following in their footsteps in the near future.
Having joined the Gunners coaching set-up in 1997, Banfield has played an integral role in shaping the club’s youth policy in the last fifteen years and now believes that Arsene Wenger’s free-flowing playing philosophy permeates all levels of the club.
“The changeover from one group to another has gone through seamlessly again and we’re starting to see some young players making their debuts in the Reserves. The future looks very promising for the young players at Arsenal Football Club.
“Obviously the manager is running the lot and I think you’re seeing what he wants from his young players, how he wants them to play. It’s a credit to the way the Club works and a testament to all the work that gone in from the manager down.
“We don’t just try to produce a player who can survive in the Premier League, we’re talking about players that can win it, win the Champions League and are going to make us qualify.”