Unai Emery says he has a responsibility to give Arsenal’s Academy prospects a chance to shine in the first team, so long as they impress in training.
The Gunners have had a youthful edge to their matchday squads this season with Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli all getting on the scoresheet and Emile Smith Rowe making his comeback from injury.
With Eddie Nketiah and William Saliba set to return from their respective loan deals at the end of the season and youngsters like Robbie Burton, Folarin Balogun and Tyreece John-Jules turning heads under Steve Bould’s mentorship, the future looks bright for those coming through the ranks.
“This Arsenal academy has been a very big academy in the history,” Emery explained, ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Standard Liege.
“The responsibility as a club and as a coach is to give them chances. When I arrived I knew I have a big responsibility with that group, that academy.”
He added: “After is to look for the best performance every time, training, in the matches and also giving the young players chances to be with us. Training, if they deserve to play giving them chances to play. If they are playing having more chances.
“We are doing that. Last year we started working every training with [Joe] Willock, Eddie Nketiah and other players. Players from the academy are closer to us, we want to give them that opportunity.
“A lot of players in the academy are closer to us. We want to give them an opportunity. I don’t know if other clubs are doing more or less, our responsibility is our responsibility. Arsenal’s responsibility. Arsenal coaches’ responsibility.”
Emery is expected to include several youngsters in his starting lineup for tomorrow evening’s game with Liege and has already confirmed that both Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin will play a part.