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Arsenal top of the league: project youth at work

By Walter Broeckx

While doing my round of the internet I stumbled in to an interesting table. It was a table that was showing how many players that were more or less raised at the club on average play for that club. They called it club trained players. And a club trained player was a footballer that has played at least 3 years for that club between the ages of 15 and 21. And who was now playing for that club.

In a way you could say that it could show how much youth players have made it to the first team and were put on the field during games.  And in a way it could give a good indication on the famous and by some hated “project youth” has worked or not.  Some say it has failed. Others say it is only just coming in full flow.

Now in the table we will show you we will give you the average numbers of players that were on the pitch that fall under the description we have given.  I must say that I found this on the internet and I cannot guarantee the accuracy completely. It was retweeted by someone from a website that held the name Sporting Intelligence. Or something like that as I copied it and it got lost on my timeline after that.

But anyway here it goes:

Club trained players pl

So what do we see? Arsenal top of the league.  In fact it shows that on average we have almost always 4 players out there that have been raised at Arsenal.  If you would put it in % it means that we have around 35% of the players on the field out there that we could call Arsenal kids.

Second in the list we find Southampton. And they also have a rather famous youth academy so no real surprise there. But having an academy is all fine and well but giving those youngsters the chance to play for the first team later on is of course the most important thing of having a youth policy. Southampton does also do well in this.

In 3rd place we find Manchester United and Aston Villa. Both having just under 3 players on the pitch on average that have been playing there from the youth teams on.

It is also not a surprise that we see teams like Chelsea and Manchester City not really having a lot of their former youth players on the pitch. A warning to all those young players that want to go there and think they could make it. Not a big chance to make it there. If a promising youth player wants to make it in the PL the best places are Southampton and of course top of the list and league : Arsenal.

Something to be proud of? Yes I sure think so. It is showing that all that money invested in kids and in youth has helped. Not just in overcoming building the Emirates. But it is now helping us on the field. The likes of Jack, Aaron, Kieran, Theo, The Ox, Gnabry (doesn’t even count till now), are with us and are here to stay and help us. And when we look at the league table they sure are not doing a bad job.

But how does this compare to other countries? Well I took from the same source the other big leagues in Europe and will show you how they look.

Let us start with Spain

club trained players spain

So those are really high numbers for Barcelona,Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo. Arsenal only would come in 5th place in Spain. But still way ahead Real Madrid who only have 2 of such players in average on the pitch. Mind you Real Madrid would come in 5 th place in England with that score.

and lets look at  France

club trained players France

Youth policy is not a false word in France. Again Amazing high numbers for a few teams.  Teams that until the money man came in were winning titles. It is a fine example maybe on how money destroys youth policy?

and let us watch at the numbers in Germany

club trained pl bundesliga

The relative unknown Freiburg is having the most youth players on the field there. Almost 50% of their players are brought up in the club. Also Bayern Munich shows that despite being able to buy any player in Germany they want they still very much rely on their own youth academy.

and finally let us have a look at Italy

club trained players Italy

Oh dear. This looks bad.  Italy is for some reason not the place to set up a successful youth academy it seems. A very low number of players who fall under the criteria.

And to round this off I calculated the average for the whole league. And I did this for each country. And if we look at that table we will see the total average of players who came through the youth academy of the clubs on the field.

 

Average Spain 2,21
Average France 2,07
Average Germany 1,83
Average PL 1,24
Average Italy 0,88

And we now see that Spain has the best total. Followed by France. Germany comes in third place and they are followed by the PL. Italy is somehow hopeless. They have less than one of such players on the field in general.

Anyhow, for those declaring project youth a failure the numbers seem to indicate something different. Certainly for Arsenal and Southampton this season. And maybe we could say that Southampton has the best youth academy of them all. If we consider the fact that with Theo and Oxlade-Chamberlain we have two players that also came from over there. And with Bale who also came from over there… They surely have developed a lot of players in the last years.

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Earlier posts

20 comments to Arsenal top of the league: project youth at work

  • Armin

    Great work Walter. There is thing about Spain which can be discussed, as three teams which have super high rate overall are clubs from regions with strong nationalistic issue. Barcelona (Catalonia), Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad (Basque), are teams are “national” teams, and its not surprise having in mind that every talented youngster in Catalonia or Basque start in one of those three clubs while they left really little space for other Spaniards. It is “national project” there developing young future stars.

    From the other side in Germany you have Freiburg, team with no financial power, so they have to relay on “their own youth”. And same can be said for Atalanta Bergamo (and partially in Roma case, having in mind financial and result crisis they were in last decade)in Italy.

    What I want to say is that Arsenal is (if we disqualify teams I mentioned) comes in to European top.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @Walter,

    Though Southampton have a better academy than us, they dont seem to integrate their players well into their system. We’ll have to wait and see though as this is their 2nd season in PL. What if they want to get into and be in the top four for a sustained amount of time, will they rely on their academy or will they start buying…….

    BUT Arsenals project youth is a success, no matter what people say. As Mr Wenger told, AGM was it?, project youth consists of 2 phase. Development (Wilshere) and Integration(Ramsey?OX/Theo). AND 35% is a very impressive number for a top club with title aspirations, in England ie.

  • blacksheep63

    another ‘league’ that would interesting to see Walter is what percentage of youth team products go on to have careers in the country’s top league. I think Arsenal would do well here too; many of those that don’t make it at Arsenal DO find gainful employment in PL or championship

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While reading this article ,Walter , I was mentally formulating in mind what Armin has already posted .The Spainiards list is slightly ‘nationally ‘ skewered, although they are impressive nonetheless .
    Arsenal’s performance should be viewed as impressive , as there are so many clubs in the London catchment area alone.

  • Armin

    Talking about youth and development, Zaha anyone? Macheda, Smalling? Every one of them was young perspective lad, expecting bright carrier. Apart from Smalling now and than appearance they are like ghosts. You may say that they still have time to develop and establish them selves, but keep in mind that they are same age as Jack, Aaron,Theo and Voychek.

    So much about “youth project failure”.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Armin – During one of our games the commentators while praising Ramsey on his development ,asked what happened to Tom Cleverly . He did mentioned that they are of the same age.

  • Armin

    It really surprises me how much attention they give to players who are supposed to be “new stars” of PL, and than forget to mention that there are some players in Arsenal, of same age who already established them selves as first team players.
    So much talk about Januzaj without mentioning Gnabry at all.
    I remeber days when you couldn’t watch CL game without commentator to mention “the youngest ever bla bla”, future of Chelsea Josh McEachran etc etc. He is one year younger from Jack, and for Chelsea played 11 games, comparing to Jacks 72 for Arsenal.

  • HenryB

    They are interesting tables Walter.

    It has to be borne in mind that some leagues especially the Spanish League permit La Liga clubs to have 2nd teams playing in the lower Spanish leagues, so perhaps the figures are slightly skewed.

  • gouresh

    I am a big fan of the youth setup. In my playing days we had a constant movement of players. So we decided on a proper youth team who were tought to play how the main team played so that they could fit in. I remember at one time we had just 3 players who were not from the youth setup and we played some fantastic football. Mind you like arsenal it took time. If the teams don’t give their youth a chance, who will?

  • Ben

    Can anyone provide a league for the Netherlands?

  • AL

    Interesting read, and good to know Arsenal are leading the way in England as we had suspected all along.

    While I was reading the article and all the comments I kept thinking what about the Dutch, where would the Dutch fit in all of this. And there, right near the very bottom, is Ben’s comment asking the same. I do think they will probably feature at the top of that list, as there doesn’t seem to be that many foreign players in the Dutch league. But then again their league maybe deemed to be no longer in the top 5 in Europe, so maybe that could be why.

  • colario

    Ben & Al
    I googled this: Dutch league club trained players

    and got a number of links to youth coaching in Holland.

    The website that the tables are from sends out weekly email with facts about the five leagues you see here. However its titbit if you want more and by all accounts there is a lot more you have to pay for it.

    The site is really for the professional information gatherers.

  • Ben

    THanks Colario, going by this old article it seems Ajax is better than Barcelona at training youths.

    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/03/ajax_top_of_the_league_in_trai.php

  • colario

    This is off subject to a point, I know but listen to the interview with Klinsman. Note he says that England needs a change of culture and think what Arsene has done for us at Arsenal and has tried to do for England. Remember, klinsman played ofr Arsene at Monaco.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/24965184

  • WalterBroeckx

    off topic but great news: Özil will not play at Wembley against England. The German manager has decided that Lahm, Neuer and Özil are certain of their place in the squad for Brazil and he will use this match to test other players to see how they cope with a big opponent.

    I love Low… 😉

    Per might play on the other hand… booooooh Low 😉

  • Gord

    Can I insert another off topic?

    Nice article about a former Arsenal goaltender, who moved on to a physio career getting his 200th appearance for England.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/10455901/Arsenal-reject-Gary-Lewin-living-dream-with-England.html

    I see also in the news, that Bendtner is willing to take a cut in salary to get on somewhere else, and apparently fancies Real Madrid and Barcelona. Is he thinking a physio career along the lines of Gary Lewin?

  • Nelson Wong

    Regardless of whether the club has money to spend on player purchases, they shoud run a youth project. It forms a good basis to develope in the future and a good insurance for bad times.

    1) Saves money compare to buying big names. Some say experienced players has a higher chance of success than young players. No doubt. But then there are plenty of transfer that does not work out (Torres) or those that are average and not worth it given the spending (Arshvin, who I like by the way.)
    2) Get plenty of players (youth to be developed) for “not so plesant jobs” like sitting on the bench as reserve which would be otherwise hard to find.
    3) Appealing to other young talented players.
    4) Stability and continuity
    5) And the thing we HATE : Selling players to get money. During bad times, the club can stay afloat for a few years by selling players. For small to even medium sidzed clubs, its a way to climb up the ladder.

    and others things we know, although not really benefitial to the club.
    1) help the community
    2) help youngsters to find job (if not getting famous and rich)
    3) help the country to train players
    4) WE HATE BUYING SUCCESS with money from OILERS.

    the only bad side.

    Young players need player time and they make mistakes more often. Team may suffer at certain period of time when it is loaded with young players.

  • colario

    Gord
    Re your link.
    The Tele wont telme seems I have to pay.

    Tom Whittaker and Berti Mee were both physios and both former managers of Arsenal.

    Tom’s football career ended with injury and he then became a physio before taking over as manager from George Allison.

    Take a read through the history pages Tony has written, they will give you more detail.

  • Gord

    Sorry about that Colario, I never seen any indication of that story being behind a paywall. Maybe it is because I am in North America and you are in the UK?