English core’s AFC future in the balance?

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If we cast our minds back to 2012, the sight of five Britain’s finest young stars signing a new contract was very exciting for Arsenal fans. A few weeks later we saw Theo Walcott also put pen to paper. At the time many of us thought that this could be our very own class of 92 and become the longterm back bone of the side. So fast forward 4 years, which of these players has actually progressed and which of the players will be shipped out?

 

Carl Jenkinson:

There was a time three seasons ago where many believed he could be the long term Arsenal right back. He even got a cap for England cap, mainly to stop him playing for Finland. The loan move to West Ham initially worked out pretty well for Jenkinson, putting in many good performances under Big Sam’s stewardship. Last season was a right off for Jenkinson, back at loan to West Ham, he’s performances were not to the standard of the previous season and then a long term injury ruling him out of the last 5 months of the season. It seems injuries are a reoccurring theme in this article.

Future: He looks like he is a good premier league player, but not good enough for Arsenal. Bellerin, Debuchy and Chambers are both ahead of him, he will find it hard to get anywhere near the starting line up. Another loan move or a permanent move away seems likely, with Sunderland being mentioned.

 

Aaron Ramsay:

Another player who has not hit the heights of the previous few seasons. His performances have been good but not anywhere near what we know he can do. Again injuries seem to have played a part, with little injuries keeping Ramsay out every now and then. Out of all Arsenal’s British core he probably did the best.

Future: Ramsay will stay at Arsenal and we hope he stays injury free, so he can get back to what he does best and score goals from midfield.

 

Jack Wilshere:

I hate to say it but Jack Wilshere is very close to be labeled the new Abu Diaby. I really hope i’m wrong and he has an injury free Euro 2016 and next season. If fit he is a star for Arsenal and England. Making 6 appearances for club and country so far this season is pretty poor.

Future: The next two season are make or break for Jack Wilshere at Arsenal. If he stays relativly injury free the next two seasons he probably will go on to be an all time great for Arsenal. If he doesn’t stay injury free I fear for his place in the Arsenal squad, what a shame that would be.

 

Kieron Gibbs:

Back in 2012 Gibbs was the most injury prone of the lot, surprisingly he probably has been the fittest of all the British players at Arsenal last season. He has not been bad when called upon but needs to do a lot more to challenge Nacho Monreal who overtook him. Arsenal have been heavily linked with Swiss LB Rodriguiz, which suggests Gibbs days could be numbered.

Future: I would like Gibbs to stay and fight for his place in the side. He clearly is a good left back, but sometimes switches off. I think he may be inline for a loan move away. Liverpool have previously been linked.

 

Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain:

He is one of the most exciting English youngsters in the country, but for some reason seems to not have progressed over the last few seasons. I was one who really thought this would be his year to kick on. He faces a task to get back ahead of Iwobi in the pecking order.

Future: Many top premier league clubs have been linked with The Ox and it seems that if Arsenal get the right price they might consider his sale. I would like to see him given at least one more season and really would be disappointed if we were to sell him to any rival club.

 

Theo Walcott:

Theo started the season on fire, looking sharp. This all went to pot after January. His confidence was shot, not being able to control the ball or run with the ball. Im sure the fan pressure and re-introduction of Danny Welbeck in the side from injury probably didn’t help for game time. His injury in January did seem to take away his form.

Future: It seems that the majority of fans want Walcott out now, i’m not one of them. But I feel that he will be sold for good money. West Ham have been mentioned as well as Leicester which both would be good moves for Theo.

Other British Players In since 2012:

Danny Welbeck – Like many of the other British players at Arsenal injuries played a major part of his season. Back in Dec/Jan of next season.

Callum Chambers – Didn’t feature hardly, had a few good games in centre midfield but is still far away from claiming a regular spot in Arsenal’s starting XI.

Jaime Vardy – Lets not jump the gun yet. He may not sign just yet.

The Arsenal Rightback Conundrum?


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With the injury to our first choice rightback (Debuchy) and the loan move away for Carl Jenkinson, we are now left with Hector Bellerin and Callum Chambers to play at rightback. It seems that Bellerin is currently ahead of Chambers in that role currently, but what is the longterm plan?

If fit Debuchy would be the first choice in this position. His experience and positional sense is invaluable. We have truly been robed of the best of him this season. So the next question is to who is the understudy.

Carl Jenkinson was the backup to Sagna for the last two seasons. He did not get much game time, but when he did he was pretty good. His strengths lie in his energy levels. His crossing is not to bad either. I feel Wenger sent him on loan this season to gain match experience. For West Ham he has become a real fans favourite, as he was with the Arsenal fans. We should see him back with Arsenal next season. Lets not forget he himself thinks his best position is at centre back.

Callum Chambers started the season on fire. He was our best defender until we played Swansea. It seems that he played more games than we would have liked him too because of injuries. Most people do say that his best position is centre back, I agree with this.

Hector Bellerin is the same age as Chambers and has really come to the party recently. On current form he can’t be dropped, but the question now is if he can last the pace of a long season? I do think a loan move away to a mid table premiership club would benefit him next season, especially if he is third choice for right back. I can see Bellerin moving into right midfield one day, due to his pace and excellent ball control.

There is space for all these players at Arsenal just not at right back. Carl Jenkinson is favourite to be sold next season, but I feel this would be a wrong move. He should be the backup to Debuchy, Chamber should be the 3rd or 4th choice centre back and Bellerin could move to a club like West Ham on a short term loan.

Who should be back up to Debuchy, vote below: