Freddie Ljungberg says he’s very impressed by the energy and willingness of Arsenal’s youngsters and revealed he’s equally pleased with the way his squad’s experienced heads are trying to help them improve.
The Swede hasn’t been afraid to throw the club’s teenagers into the fray despite our poor form with Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe all making appearances during his four games in charge. A host of other Academy prospects also made the bench for last night’s 2-2 draw with Standard Liege.
While Freddie doesn’t mind giving them the first team minutes they need to develop as players, he has warned that people need to keep their expectations in check.
“They’re young kids, I try to remind people they are young,” he told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s match with Manchester City at the Emirates.
“We should not put the hope of our club on the young ones. That’s too much pressure.
“For me, if they’d have been out on loan before or had a 50 to 100 professional games in men’s football then they would have made their mistakes in those clubs.
“Yesterday, we played and sometimes there will be mistakes. People talk about them making a mistake and yeah [they do], but that’s normal with a young player. They will learn from it. It’s the only way they will get better, they need to play.
“I’ve been very impressed with them and especially the energy they give. They are not scared, they make mistakes, they go again, it’s a pleasure to see.
“At the same time, we can’t forget the older players that give them a framework, talk to them all the time, try to give them advice. That’s something, I’m proud of the old guys, they are really trying to help them.”
Freddie was also quizzed on whether he might want to take the head coach position on a full-time basis. Since being made caretaker a couple of weeks ago, a host of names have been linked with the role. Ljungberg obviously has a hands-on opportunity to stake his claim, but he maintains he’s solely focused on the day-to-day.
“It doesn’t really matter [whether I want the job],” he said. “I’m here to be here day-to-day and I try not to think any other thoughts because it’s irrelevant really. I’ve been given a task and a job and I try to concentrate on that as much as I can.
“There’s been no discussions with me about transfers or anything like that. All I’ve been told is that I’m to do this day-to-day and they’ll let me know what they do. I respect that and I just try to do my job as well as I can.”