Written by Matthew Fallon
What happened to Arsenal’s British Core?
Towards the end of the 2012 Arsenal managed to secure the long-term futures of five British players; Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. These five young players were along with Theo Walcott the “future of Arsenal”. I will explore what has happened to the British core since 2012
Arsenal’s academy is famous for bringing through young British talent with an illustrious list of talent coming through the ranks. Ashley Cole, Tony Adams, and Ray Parlour to name a few came from Hale End. Dubbed as the future of Arsenal the six players have high expectations to live up to. The poster boys for Arsenal promoting how proud the club are to be building a British side.
The Current Crop
The original six players have been supplemented to with three other Englishmen joining the squad. Acquiring the services of Danny Welbeck, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding from other English clubs. These three have joined the original six as part of Arsenal’s British squad.
There has been mixed fortunes for the five members of the British Core. The players not living up to the high expectations that were set for them maybe because of the media hype around them. High-quality foreign talent has limited the match time of the British players have been getting. Both Carl Jenkinson and Jack Wilshere had to leave the club on loan in search of game time.
Aaron Ramsey has been the biggest success out of the six players from the original core . A fantastic season in 2013/14 but since then has failed to maintain the same level of consistency mainly because of injuries. Ramsey is the closest to a guaranteed starter out of the bunch. Ramsey’s Arsenal career has been hampered by a serious injury sustained at Stoke in 2010. Both Wilshere and Jenkinson have also had long-term injuries which have followed them throughout their careers.
credit Ronnie Macdonald
Theo Walcott celebrates 10 years at Arsenal this year and is the most experienced Arsenal player with an up and down Arsenal career which has also been hampered by injury but the Englishman’s failure to identify his best position has now found himself a home on the right-wing and has had a good start to the 2016/17 season. Walcott’s big game contributions at Arsenal will not be forgotten with the winger scoring crucial goals for the club. Walcott’s opener in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup final was crucial to Arsenal retaining the cup.
credit Ronnie Macdonald
Carl Jenkinson & Jack Wilshere
After a loan spell at West Ham which was cut short with injury for the lifelong Gooner, Carl Jenkinson made his first Arsenal appearance after 898 days away from the club due to a loan move to the Irons and his injury. Jack Wilshere’s shock loan move to AFC Bournemouth in 2016 not only emphases Arsenal’s squad depth but also that Arsenal’s British core hasn’t been as successful as predicted. Two lifelong Arsenal fans Jenkinson and Wilshere are looking to regenerate their Arsenal career’s, therefore, both players will/have benefited from their loan moves.
credit Ronnie Macdonald
Kieran Gibbs who was Arsenal’s first choice left-back in 2012 has found himself playing second fiddle to the ever consistent Nacho Monreal who has cemented himself as one of the best left-backs in the premier league which has meant Gibbs has had his playing time limited but Gibbs has conducted himself as a true professional and been patient when not getting the desired game time and has always been ready to step up when needed to.
Arguably the most talented in the group Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a player brought in 2011 from Southampton for £15 million. Still, at the young age of 23, Chamberlain has failed to cement a place in the starting 11. The explosive winger arrived at Arsenal with bags of potential with the world at his feet. The youngster’s inconsistency, as well as a handful of injuries, has hindered the winger’s progress at Arsenal. Very much a confidence player the Ox has struggled to find his form and have a steady run in the Arsenal side. Saying that, Oxlade-Chamberlain has currently equalled his record goals in a year (5) already this season with goals coming against Reading, Nottingham Forest, and Ludogorets.
The Future is Bright
Arsenal’s British core may have just been a key marketing tool promoting for the Gunners. The history and tradition of having British players in the side have continued from the club’s early years.The influx of foreign players into the premier league may have hampered the growth of the British core. The future still looks bright for Arsenal because of the British core.
Which of these players do you think can be deemed as a success? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Ronnie Macdonald