Arsenal giving up on their experiment in favour of bringing in more experienced players the past two summers as they bid to end their own seven-year trophy drought.

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey, Suso and Andre Wisdom all appear to have forced their way into the starting eleven this season due to a combination of fantastic form, injuries to other players and squad rotation with more senior players in Europe. Indeed, a front three of Suarez, Sterling and Suso looks as if it’s Rodgers first-choice trio at the moment, with Fabio Borini forced to kick his heels on the bench for the time being of late.

Rodgers has shown a willingness to trust the squad’s younger members, a situation in part foisted upon him by the coffers running dry to bring in new players this summer and during the victory over Norwich at Carrow Road last weekend, Liverpool fielded their youngest side for 9 years with an average age of 24 years and 347 days, with only the inclusion of Steven Gerrard over the age of 30 in the starting eleven. Against West Brom in the League Cup a couple of weeks ago, Jerome Sinclair made his debut becoming the club’s youngest ever first-team player in the process at 16 years and 6 days old.

The future is clearly bright and the talent on show and coming through the ranks is hugely exciting for the club’s fans, but any talk of what this current crop might be able to achieve in the future should be tempered by what happened over at Arsenal, where manager Arsene Wenger tried a similar route to success only to see his bright young things often come up short when the going got tough.

Names like Philippe Senderos, Johan Djourou, Nicklas Bendtner, Fran Merida, Armand Traore, Kerrea Gilbert, Denilson and Nacer Barazite were given numerous cup run-outs before slowly but surely moving into league involvement in the side and in their own ways, they all proved to be not quite up to the task of playing for a club the size of Arsenal, a club with title ambitions and top four aspirations as a bare minimum.

Wenger’s faith in them, sometimes bordering on the blind, has certainly cost the club dearly and his stubborn refusal to reach the dawning realisation that most of the club’s fans came to a hell of a lot earlier held the side back. The result has seen Arsenal gradually fall away from challenging for honours and the experiment on relying on youth has since been corrected.

After Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas departed last season, Wenger has since stepped up his efforts to bring in more experience to his side, with seasoned international such as Per Mertesacker, Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla all coming into the side and making an impact and there’s been a noticeable shift in the club’s transfer policy in the pursuit of silverware. Wenger has finally come to realise that while blooding in youngsters is all well and good, it has to be done in increments rather than as part of a radical overhaul and you have to find that right blend and balance, which is what they look as if they have at the moment.

Liverpool have experience in key areas right down the spine of their side from Suarez, Gerrard, Skrtel, Agger and Reina and after the campaign’s first six league games, the average age of the Liverpool team selections is 23.38 – pipping Arsenal’s figure of 23.73  into second place.

It’s not as if Rodgers is recklessly throwing in youth into games where they can’t handle the pressure and if anything, they might have benefited from playing league football from the off against competitive opposition rather than pointless cup games against inferior sides, but there’s a worry that we might expect too much, too soon from them in terms of delivering week-in, week-out and Rodgers shouldn’t abandon looking to recruit older players altogether in the future.

There are certainly plenty of reasons to be cheerful at the moment on Merseyside, but we shouldn’t mark this current crop as world-beaters before they’re truly ready, though, for if Arsenal have taught us one thing in recent years, it’s that placing all of your eggs in one basket is an extremely risky policy and approach to take and hailing the next generation before they’ve fully arrived can only lead to crushing disappointment.

You can follow me on Twitter @JamesMcManus1

 

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  • George
    2 years ago

    Did you consider the very real possibility that Arsenal/Wenger has no choice but use youth? It is well known that they struggled to raise the finance for the new stadium and had to accept less favourable front-loaded sponsorship deals to secure the finance. Indeed, the purchase of Robin van Persie for 2.75m had to be delayed by one year because finances were that tight. In that regard, “project youth” was not a failed experiment but was in fact very successful. Arsenal under Wenger have never finished lower than fourth in the premier league and therefore are one of only three teams to have qualified for Champions League in every season since the start of that competition.

    I should have ignored your article as it has turned out to be as poor as the title suggests. But today I do have more time on my hands.

    You need to do a lot better than this if you have aspirations as a journalist. As the saying goes, “don’t give up your day job”.

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      2 years ago

      > Anticipating the medium term funding problem due to the new stadium … AW should not have broken up the 2nd great team so quickly (eg. Pires)

      > He then indeed had little choice for 2 – 3 years

      > He HAS had choice in the last 2 – 3 years and has only abandoned the grand plan in the last 13 months.

      About time too !!

      Reply
  • Greg
    2 years ago

    I agree. It was forced upon Arsene just like it is forced upon us and we have to be realistic. Top 4 finish is all we can hope for in the forseeable future and the ‘failed’ experiment at arsenal did that year in year out, so I would love that sort of failure!

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      2 years ago

      As a man of principle AW remained loyal to his youngsters but for too long. They have not been loyal too him.

      The flat wage structure in particualr has proved a disaster. This was not the Board … it was AW.

      Reply
      • Greg
        2 years ago

        My point is finishing in the top 4 each year is NOT a failure when your taking on impossible money of utd, chels and city. I would love to fail and finish 4th. we will not and cannot hope for better

        Reply
  • Mickey Finn
    2 years ago

    sensible comments. wish i could say the same about the article.

    Reply
  • Flavour
    2 years ago

    You just follow the press without doing your own research. It was a French writer (interpreted in English) that opened my eyes about the real financial situation in Arsenal and how the board wanted the Champions League place as it will automatically bring in £25 million and the minimum that can be paid for the stadium mortgage loan was £15 million as of then. So you can see why we became a selling club, groom and sell. Recently Arséne Wenger that we are lucky not to be relegated like Leads United after they built a new stadium.
    Stubborn means being determined not to obey or yield. The truth is if you really want to be successful you must be stubborn. Allen Sugar, Gordon Brown, Richard Branson, etc are some very stubborn men we know and they are top in their knowledge and their business. If Arséne Wenger allowed people like your type that knows nothing about how to create players to change his mind Arsenal would have plugged into depth and will be relegated

    Reply
  • wrighty
    2 years ago

    poor article to say the least, if there is a team which has used youth system effectively in the premier league it has to be arsenal. keeping up with the likes of united,city and Chelsea without reckless spending and unreasonable debts while the club oversaw a move to a magnificent stadium such as the emirates. it becomes clear that wenger has kept the arsenal in good condition, while most clubs with such severe lack of funds would slip to mid-table mediocrity, so it is rather more of success and effectiveness with which the youth system has supported the club, that really does requires a credit. however Liverpool on the other hand even with a good “hefty” funds available to them, quite frankly they’ve messed up big time!. denilson? bendtner? really? what about fabregas, van persie, clichy, theo walcott, song…i could go on, they have served well enough to keep the club competitive.

    as for the average age comparison, how does it matter? does liverpool possess the same quality as arsenal?, does liverpool have anybody in the same quality as wilshere, AOC, gibbs, walcott…yea, that’s what i thought,NO.

    as for the youth players given a chance at liverpool it’s mostly, i’m sorry to say looks a little desperate, shevly and raheem sterling or suso are maybe good, but barring sterling do you think any of those players would have made it it even through the arsenal academy?

    and finally, if that’s what liverpool learned from arsenal, very well then carry on looking through the rose tinted “red” glasses of yours. have fun interpreting lesson’s from other clubs!

    Reply
    • ian
      2 years ago

      walcott? seriously

      Reply
      • wrighty
        2 years ago

        sure, why not?. but i strictly meant it with reference to Liverpool,10 goals and 12 assists last season, right now Liverpool would kill to have him on their squad than the likes of Henderson or downing..

        Reply
    • Greg
      2 years ago

      AOC and Walcott are not exactly acadamy players are they? They were pretty obviuos buys and I hoped we were trying for them at the time. Wisdom, Robinson and Kelly can be added as players that have come through. I only wish we had bought the new stevie G in Powell. Best signing of the summer unfortunatly

      Reply
  • toye
    2 years ago

    I think most of the responses here already spoke my mind. There was a reason why Arsenal embarked on that policy and that reason is the Emirates Stadium. The policy was a sucess. If that is what Liverpool are doing right now, then what is their reason ? Cannot think of any but that the club has never really been positioned well.

    Reply
  • BlaDeBla
    2 years ago

    censorship test

    Reply

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