Former Arsenal player has claimed egos, arrogance and selfishness are holding young players from succeeding at the highest level.
Fabrice Muamba, who came through the youth team ranks to play two league cup games for Arsene Wenger’s side, believes managers under pressure to get results as well as external pressures are the cause for young players not being given a chance.
Muamba wrote in his Daily Express column:
“The moment you start to feel you are better than the game, that is when your downfall begins.
“Young players nowadays are quick to get out of the training ground so they can hang around with their mates. Fewer players do extra training or analyse their own game to try to improve it.
“Social media and technology have played a massive part in this. Youth–team players are worried about what their friends might think about them.”
The midfielder, now retired after doctors advised him not to play on after having a heart attack, had the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva in front of him in the pecking order for a place in the first team when he made his breakthrough.
But the former England youth international said that didn’t stop him working in training and doing extra sessions in order to improve his game.
The 26-year-old added:
“Jack Wilshere going out on loan to Bolton was a vital part of his football development and now he is an England regular.
“It had a massive impact on the team. Sebastian Larsson, Nicklas Bendtner, David Bentley, myself, Anthony Stokes, Johan Djourou, the list goes on. The first–team places were limited but going out on loan helped all of us.
“The loan system helped us to improve mentally too, dealing with defeats and the physical demands of playing regular first–team football.
“But in any walk of life you must be disciplined to achieve your goal. Football is no different.
“Discipline will take you further than a player who is more talented but who will not put in the hard graft required at the highest level.”
Against Newcastle, the Gunners didn’t field one player who had come through the ranks. With the Arsenal youth team recently relegated to the lower league.
A run of just two victories in 12 matches since Christmas has condemned the Arsenal U21s to the second-tier of the U21 Premier League next season, meaning that they will miss out on facing elite clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Instead, their likely list of opponents for 2014/15 is rather less glamorous, with Bolton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion, Reading, Stoke City, Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers all, as it stands, poised to join the young Gunners in the second division.
Now the Arsenal’s academy is set to undergo a massive change in the close season with the departure of Liam Brady, who is to retire from his post as Head of Youth Development.
The Gunners have appointed Dutchman Andries Jonker to take over the running of the academy.