Wenger confident about Park and Miyaichi impact

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It seems like only yesterday that a long ball into the box saw a calamitous mix-up between Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny hand Birmingham City the Carling Cup at Wembley…but here we are again, about to embark on Arsene Wenger’s fourteenth attempt to win England’s least glamorous cup competition. Shrewsbury Town are the visitors on Tuesday evening and with defeat to Blackburn Rovers still fresh in the memory it’s a game which has taken on a level of importance and interest usually not seen until later rounds.

Speaking to Arsenal Player about his preparations for the match, the coach spoke openly about how he intends to treat the tournament this season, what supporters can expect from new signings Ju Young Park, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi, playing Theo Walcott as a striker and how he feels his side need the support of the fans after a tough start to the season.

On his attitude towards the Carling Cup team selection this season

We have a big squad now and we want to make use of that squad.  I feel of course it will give a chance to some young players to shine but we want to find the right mixture in this competition between keeping our faith in young players and winning the games. That means having the right balance between experience and youth.

On whether his team selection has changed in light of the Blackburn game…

No, not at all. I had my team in my head before the Blackburn game and it will remain exactly the same. It is an opportunity to go back to what we love; to play football, to focus on it and hopefully experiencing the joy of qualifying.

On the young players set to feature against Shrewsbury…

There will be Frimpong, Coquelin, Chamberlain, Miyaichi and maybe one or two more. There will also be a chance to see Park for the first time and Chamakh. We’ll try to find a mixture between youth and experience.

On Ju Young Park’s qualities…

Park is good in every area. He is good in the air, good technically, he is mobile and that’s why he is an adaptable striker who can play up front behind the striker. That’s why we went for him. What I like with him is that he is very mobile and that’s the basis of our game.

On certain cultures thriving in the Premier League…

Asian culture, usually, is well suited to team sports. Their culture is very collective and once they get the technical level they are very at ease in a sport where, in England, you need commitment, focus and team attitude. Their culture is well suited to that.

On Ji Sung Park at Manchester United…

I always rated Ji Sung Park, his attitude especially and [other] qualities.

On comparing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Theo Walcott…

They are quite similar types of players but Walcott is a bit more a striker and Oxlade-Chamberlain is more a midfielder. He [Oxlade-Chamberlain] likes more to be in the build-up of things and Walcott is more a guy who makes intelligent runs. So they are not that similar as players but they have some similarities physically already. They look the same size, the same type of player. But I believe that Oxlade-Chamberlain could be a central midfielder one day and Walcott a central striker one day. That shows the difference between the two players. I don’t know [if the comparisons are fair] but you can’t stop that.

On playing Walcott as a striker in the Carling Cup…

I’ve thought about that many, many times. I was the first that said he will end up a central striker, but the Carling Cup is as well an opportunity for me to give some playing time to Chamakh and Park as well. That is important to our future as well.

On Ryo Miyaichi making an impression this season…

He will. We have to give him time and not put too much pressure on him but he is a fantastic player. A year ago, Ryo came here for a trial and we decided to sign him. We want to do things properly with him and not to rush him too much. He has pace, attitude, efficiency in what he is doing and complete commitment.

On young Barcelona acquisitions Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin…

It’s a bit too early because Toral is injured, Jenkinson will start in his position. The young Hector [Bellerin] is showing fantastic progress, he’s doing very, very wel. But he’s only 15 let’s not forget…it’s a bit too early!

On the talk about his future and pressure…

I am completely confident in this team. My attitude is what I expect from every player. Complete commitment to the cause and focus on the next game. In our job it is like that – what’s next, focus on it and give your best.

His message to the fans…

My message to the fans is that we need them more than ever after a difficult start. But also to trust us because this team has potential and that will come out.

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