Jack Wilshere joined Arsenal aged 9,
JET joined Arsenal aged 9,
Jay Simpson joined Arsenal aged 9
Henri Lansbury joined Arsenal aged 9,
Emmanuel Frimpong, joined Arsenal aged 11 (we were a bit late there, but to be fair he had just come from Ghana)
Craig Eastmond joined Arsenal aged 11 (ditto – must be a late developer, but not ditto the Ghana bit)
And across the globe the North Korean Arsenal blogs pump out their daily grind that the Youth Project has failed and we should be spending billions of North Korean Pobble Beads on new players because none of the Youth Project players ever get into the team.
And of course I admit those six won’t all be in the first team next season, but the oldest of that bunch is 21, and most are around 18, so there’s time.
The fact is that we don’t just have six players who were signed aged 9 or 11 who can now hold their own in a pre-season game among the big boys, it is that two of the above (Wilshire and Frimpong) were the absolute stars of the game, and that behind them and not playing today is another raft of soon to be mega stars.
And as if that were not enough a number of other players around were signed just a little later in their lives. (I would personally count a player who is signed at 16 part of the youth project, but you know what these North Koreans are like – if you can’t divide the age by the amount of grain produced through the communal harvest programme in kilos and get an answer under the square root of a triad, then its not worth the candle, as they say in Yorkshire).
And of course I also know that we were not playing with any of our world cup squad players, nor with our current band of injured or ill players. Eduardo and Denilson had minor knocks in training and Almunia had a bug. So none of this represents our true first team, but then that just shows how the pressure is not going to be on these lads. They can take their time.
And here’s a strange thing – Simpson got a game because Eduardo was withdrawn at the last moment. Could that strange accident of fate have changed his entire life, so that instead of being transferred to the Kingdom of Fife or somewhere, he actually goes on and plays for us and becomes the greatest player in the history of the universe?
(Sorry seem to have got carried away a bit there but you know what I mean).
(actually perhaps you don’t, given the problems experienced with my deep and glorious match report, so we’ll move on swiftly).
Actually there is one amusing thing that they have on Arsenal’s web site – after each game you can vote for your man of the match. I went on about 10.30pm BST and had a look and saw that Almunia who was not playing had got a 4% vote. I am not sure if that is a bunch of genuine mistakes or just because he is first in the list, or the North Koreans making a point so subtle that I can’t actually understand it. Anyway, when I looked the top three by a clear distance was Arshavin, Wilshire and Frimpong, with which I would wholly agree.
Here’s another stunning thing. This brilliant bunch is for the most part English, and indeed there is plenty of chance for Frimpong to change his mind and play for England instead of Ghana, although he might well be better of with Ghana. But none of them is being picked by England to play! What a bunch of turnips. (England selectors that is, not our players).
So thus it is that I hereby take it upon myself to proclaim the Youth Project the most stunning and overwhelming success in the history of AFC. It is real, it works, and it will take us to the most overwhelming glory ever seen in the… (well, you know the rest).
Just look at the players who were involved…
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