Arsenal scouting lower leagues for hungry players


Having spoken about how the money in football is affecting the hunger of young players at the top clubs, Arsene Wenger believes that scouting the lower leagues to find footballers who have a deep-seated desire is going to play a part at Arsenal in the coming years.

Teenage millionaires sometimes find their motivation is dampened by the fact they drive  fast cars and all the assorted trappings, whereas a player who has had to work his up from the bottom may be the one who shows the most desire.

“What I think will happen is that you will have more and more players coming out of the lower leagues who have had to fight their way through,” he said.

“Compare that with a player who has been educated here, who has had Champions League for 17 years, who has not known anything else.

“It’s not a dream, it’s normal for him. But if you play for a team in the lower leagues and watch Real Madrid or Barcelona on Wednesday nights you think: ‘I’d love to play in games like that.’

“I’ve said to our scouts to do the lower leagues because the good players are there now. Don’t forget we have many foreign players in the Premier League, but good English players have to go down to develop.”

Wenger spoke last season about how the Leicester players, some of them cast-offs and rejects from bigger clubs, and others like Jamie Vardy who came through late, could maintain their drive throughout the season.

And perhaps part of this has been put into practice already with the signing of 20 year old Rob Holding from Bolton this summer. Before that the last player signed from a lower division club was Carl Jenkinson from Charlton.

The club had to offer his father, a well-known singer, a gig at the Arsenal Charity Ball at the end of that season before the deal was agreed.

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