Mikel Arteta has been buoyed by the performances of some of the young players in the squad, but insists he has a responsibility to ensure they’re developed properly and surrounded with experience to help them reach their full potential.
The Gunners got back to winning ways this week, in no small part because of the contributions from Bukayo Saka (19), Emile Smith Rowe (20) and Gabriel Martinelli (19), something the manager acknowledges.
However, he feels it’s too much to place the burden entirely on the youngsters, saying, “We know that our club has a history of bringing players through the academy and it’s in our DNA.
“We want to keep doing it and I think I’ve done it since the day I came through that door, but they need the right process, they need the right players around them and you have to respect the timing of their development.
“There is nothing worse than rushing those players when they are not ready. If they are ready and they respond, then keep doing it.
“You don’t have to hold them back because you know their energy, their passion and what they want to do. They can run and sprint and do whatever they want, but they need experience as well.
“Eleven kids is impossible. When you have the right mixture then these kids start to become more senior players and they start to have a little bit more experience and they are in a good development phase, let’s go for it.
“But you have to be cautious as well.”
Arteta has often erred on the side of experience this season, and results haven’t been good enough. The recent upturn will hopefully see him keep faith with those young players, especially as he has seemed to find a good blend.
As impressive as Saka and co have been, the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and even Granit Xhaka have contributed to the wins over Chelsea and Brighton.
Let’s keep fingers crossed for more of the same on Saturday against West Brom.