x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Wenger: England core from Arsenal

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal will soon provide the backbone of the England team and he is in no doubt the future is bright for next generation.

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal will soon provide the backbone of the England team.

The Gunners manager has been criticised for developing young foreign talent rather than bringing English players through.

However, Arsenal are now well-represented in Fabio Capello's squad - with Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs both starting the midweek friendly against France, while Jack Wilshere was set to feature but missed out because of a back problem.

The likes of the Under 21 midfielder Henri Lansbury and the striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas could join the national team soon, and hopes are high for fellow youth internationals Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke. The Ghana-born midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, 18, also has shown ample promise, but the London resident is sidelined by a knee injury.

Wenger is in no doubt the future is bright for Arsenal's next England generation. "I feel that we have four or five players who can be the backbone of the English team - Gibbs, Walcott, Wilshere, and we have some other young players behind who can do that."

Today, Wenger will be concerned about a Welshman. Tottenhan Hotspur's Gareth Bale could prevent Arsenal from moving to the top of the table if he produces the sort of form that ripped apart Inter Milan and Blackburn Rovers in recent weeks.

While Wenger accepted it would be "important to keep Bale quiet", the French coach does not want to lose sight of the overall picture.

"Tottenham have many good players in their team and for us it is important we produce a good team performance and not to focus on a single player out in their team," he said.

"We should just focus on our performance. If our performance is right, as I think it will be, then we have a good chance to win."

Arsenal can, for a few hours at least, go above Chelsea to top the of the league should they once again win at home against their fierce rivals. "It is a big motivation for us because we have created a momentum, and have won five of the last six," Wenger said.

"We are at the stage of the season now where we just want to go from game to game and get the points into our account, then see where we stand after.

"I always said since the first six games that it looks like the most consistent team will be rewarded."

Arsenal have no fresh injury worries from the midweek internationals, which saw several players involved in England against France at Wembley.

Nicklas Bendtner is expected to be in the squad after missing the Everton game.

That was, officially at least, attributed to the Denmark striker's recovery from a long-term groin injury rather than an outburst against his lack of first-team action.

"From what I can see he is 95 per cent of his best and we hope he will contribute on our side to help us win football games and trophies," Wenger said. "We do not educate players to let them go."

Robin van Persie chalked up a useful 45 minutes for Holland in midweek as his recovery from an ankle injury continues.

When the Dutchman is fully fit, Wenger will certainly have plenty of firepower at his disposal.