Step Forward Arsenal’s British Backbone

Nick Love May 7, 2011 News 97 Comments

Jack Wilshere’s won the PFA Young Player of the Year award last month, and with it, Arsène Wenger sent another message to some of his biggest critics, who doubted his ability and intent to buy or produce English talent. Now, for the first time in several years, Arsenal have an array of British players that can realistically compete for a first team place.

In 2004, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour and Martin Keown helped Arsenal to an unprecedented invincible season. The four Englishman played a vital part in the success and were a major influence in the dressing room and around the club. Since then, Arsenal have only won one significant trophy, the FA Cup in 2005.

Despite Cole and Campbell staying at Arsenal for the following two years, plus the introduction of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal have failed to maintain a British basis in the first team squad. It is certainly something Wenger has wished to address over the past few years, saying in October of 2009; “I am highly determined to bring more English players through”.

For the first time in a number of years, Arsenal can boast the likes of the aforementioned Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere and the promising Kieran Gibbs. They could soon be joined by the emerging Henri Lansbury and Kyle Bartley, both of whom have shown signs that they have all the qualities Wenger demands, plus that English spirit.

It is no secret that the most successful clubs over the years have had a British backbone, in fact, no club has ever won the Premier League without an English centre half in their first team squad. Manchester United have consistently maintained a British nucleus, along with Chelsea, whose recent success comes hand in hand with the consistency, leadership and stability John Terry and Frank Lampard bring on the pitch. Even elsewhere, you have to look no further than Barcelona, whose home grown talents are integral to their success.

Determination, passion and desire are some of the main qualities associated with British players, which is a key component in the Premier League. Growing up around the English game, playing and watching can’t help but build a genuine affection for the game and a loyalty that is so hard to buy. Despite Arsenal developing foreign talent at a young age to help install these same qualities, it is hard to build such a strong affiliation with the English game and the club they are at compared to the British players. There is no doubting the qualities foreign players bring to the English game, but to truly compete in any league there has to be some local boys whose love runs further than just football.

Last weekend was a prime example of that. Ramsey, Wilshere and Walcott helped defeat a strong United side, showing their passion, spirit and work rate in closing the ball down and chasing. That, plus the exciting Gibbs, Lansbury and Bartley, meaning Arsenal will have a strong British contingent who also have ability.

In November of last year, Wenger admitted the time and effort he and his staff have put into developing top quality English players, and it appears to be coming to fruition, noting: “I feel that we have four or five players who can be the backbone of the English team.”

If Wenger is to be believed, Arsenal’s core promises to be British for many years to come.

You can follow me on Twitter @NickLove1985.


  • dont think nationality has anything to do with it, rather the attitude and spirit.

    • Which in many cases is embedded by the society.
      It is why the Japanese are noted for effeciency and academic intellect.
      It is why the rest of the world associate England with “grit” (even though many hate it, they acknowledge it).

      Society plays a key.


      Henry ,Viera and Lungberg proved that .

    • @Badaman – I would be very careful in believing these generalisations. Some certainly *appear* to be true to a large extent I’ll admit, but as an example, Mexicans are often considered lazy in USA, but a recent report named mexico as the hardest working country in the world in terms of paid and unpaid labour.

      In any case, it is irrelevant because we are not picking from the GENERAL population, we are trying to pick from the elite players of every nation in the world. We want to select the most hardworking, strongest (physically and mentally) and skillful players for arsenal, regardless of where they come from.

    • All I said was that society “plays a key”, not that it define’s one character.

      I’m no racist. I’m not John, lol. :)

    • @Badaman – I know mate, I wasn’t trying to attack you at all. I apologize if it came across that way.

    • Agree Hiro, I didn’t see a lot of backbone and grit from Bentley and Pennant.

  • Walcott wilshere ramsey gibbs we only d best like Js mentioned lansbury bartley lookin promising they could a future of british team like barca 2 spain

  • Offtopic arsenal need 2 be ruthless irrespective of nationality we only need d best so d likes of randall hyote watt eastmond sunu murphy deacon GBH need be clearout but if bartley & ozyakup are’nt patient de should leave we need loyal & commited boys

  • I heard somewhere today that Gibbs is a little unsettled at Arsenal as he thinks he should be on a better contract and have more first team opportunities. Plus I didn’t think that Bartley, despite impressing at Rangers, would be a member of the first team next year? And if that was the case then he would look to move somewhere else. Do you know if that’s true Jamie?

  • Lansbury british backbone cant get him into the Norwich team at the moment. I love this site because i believe its an antidote to such British backbone nonsense

    • Mr Arsenal

      You fool. Go elsewhere with your negative and dumb comment

    • Lansbury didn’t play in the final few games because he got injured and the manager didn’t want to change a winning team. He’s been a regular all season, and is nominated for the Championship’s Young Player of the Year.


    Great article and no doubt there is alot to be said for home grown players especially local lads having real passion for the team.There will be a natural loyalty and sense of pride which we need to see more of , to go with the undoubted talents of the foreign legion.

  • Great post ! Hope to see Bartley next season :)

  • Every winning team has an English backbone.
    Those disagreeing are obviously foreigners!!!!

  • I think it’s off the mark to say that players brought in young cannot fill this same role of determination, aggression, and love for the club – especially the clever ones. Tech9 will be one of these. Cesc has had an off year but before the summer he was the heartbeat of the club. Vieira learned an awful lot while here, and some of his accumulated “Britishness” seemed rather forced to me at times but it was there. (Regarding Cesc, wanting to leave isn’t the preserve of foreigners – note ashley cole.) Why not Song, Djourou, and others, assuming they also have the right personality for it?

  • goomba -_-

    i agree with the article. it’s not about ‘english being better’… just that whatever nation a club is in, local players can be invaluable. it helps build the identity of the team and provides a focal point… these players can help new signings settle etc. and be honest… our tabloids are borderline xenophobic. so many negative vibes around the team… if we get a few more lads through that might change which can help.

    • You should be wanting to fight against the xenophobia of the tabloids, not just going with the flow. That’s an unbearably weak attitude. Where is your british grit!? :)
      You make an interesting point about team identity, but what is wrong with our identity being that we are somewhat multinational? One of the things I’ve loved about wenger since he joined is that he has always seemed to select players based purely on how good they were as footballers – and that of course makes us more multinational. The way he treated walcott for the past three seasons, when he really wasn’t good enough, is disappointing, but theo is showing his worth now. I’ll never agree that wenger was right to play him so much, but he obviously felt that theo was on the verge of turning the corner to become the player he is now.

  • I have to agree

    To win a premiership you need that core of british players.

    Its not all about how skillful a player, how good they are on the ball.

    its the energy, work rate, getting stuck in.. Thats wht Englsih players bring into a team they bring spirit, never say die attitude into the side.

    I think lansbury, carl jenkinson, kyle bartley can be great for arsenal as squad players and then slowly integrated into the first team on a regular basis.

  • So where is this British “grit” at international competitions? Or is it reserved only for club-level competitions? Determination, passion and desire are individual attributes irrespective of one’s nationality. The attempted correlation between winners of the English Premiership and their British nationality smacks of xenophobia. There is a high probability that the best English lads, whether defenders, fowards or midfielders, will play for the best English clubs as is the proability that the best Italians will play for the best Italian teams and so on and so on. The fact that these players happen to play in defence is purely coincidental. In order to validate your argument you would have to prove that those qualities apply beyond just the Premiership. By the way, should ManU win the league, it won’t be because of their “Britishness”. In case you hadn’t noticed, neither their top scorer nor best defender is British. In fact, their best player all year isn’t even British.

    • The reason they will probably win the league is that their players (particularly their british players) are allowed to push referees, elbow people in the head, throw opponents to the ground, make several clearly bookable fouls in a single game, try to score with their hands and try to defend with their hands, all without receiving any punishment whatsoever. In short, they are above the law!

    • Oh! And kick people in the chest – ferdinand did that to chamakh in the 1st game at old trafford. And evans did it to drogba last season, and I believe he broke his rib in the process. It’s scandalous!

    • I want to agree, but the argument is not whether your best player or three are british, but whether you have a core, or a few spinal players, and manure had giggs pulling the strings yesterday, and trust more to OShea, Fletcher, and Carrick that I would, and their season has turned on Rooney finding form, and Ferdinand has been gold for them for years.

  • Keown and parlour were hardly part of the “backbone” of the invincibles. Keown only just qualified for a winners’ medal. Campbell and cole were massive, yes; as well as lehmann, lauren, toure, gilberto, edu, ljungberg, and of course vieira. All of them contributed enourmously to the stability of the side that season, and of course we would have been nowhere without pires and henry.
    Enough of this “British” crap. Flamini ate every midfield in the country for breakfast in 2007/08 regardless of how many british players he was up against. We perhaps need a couple more players with real energy, enthusiasm and experience, but the passport they hold is irrelevant.

    • I agree. Talk of “grit and desire” as if it’s somehow exclusive to British players is a lot of guff.

      The real advantage of producing talented young English players is that they cost next to nothing compared to big money signings, they are more likely to be loyal to the club (but not always! – Cashley) and that English PL refs are much kinder to English players with their decisions than they are with foreign players.

  • Jules NewZealand

    I suppose English backbone is the reason England have won so many World Cups and Euro’s. Note – I’m English but live overseas. Traits of grit, steel and bulldog spirit count for something but can you name any English midfielder who had more ticker than PV4. Also, I’d put the pure class of Thierry in my team over any Englishman up front. This story seems a little like a diluted “JOHN” comment.


      Thierry had real spirit and a love of the club to go with an of abundance of skill .It doesnt matter where the players hail from if they show that sort of desire week in week out.At the moment Wilshere shows a desire that you want all the players to have,a will to run themselves into the ground no matter what.He stands out at present but hpefully that wil change and we will have 11 players committed to the cause.

  • Ramsey and wilshere played great, but fabregas would have put in the same effort in closing down had he been on the pitch – we see it over and over again.
    The reason we were able to win really is that Utd aren’t actually that good a side. The key difference from other games was that Song was played deeper and marked rooney out of the game. Wilshere and ramsey put in great shifts, but were it not for this tactical adjustment, I expect we would have seen a repeat of the FA Cup game, feeling the effects of the pacey Utd counter-attacks. It also helped that clichy managed to get the better of nani for once, and kos and szczesny in particular played really well in defence. These two players were only a part of a multinational “backbone” and shouldn’t be praised any more than is due simply because they are british. To ignore the equal importance of the efforts of other players purely because they are not english is tantamount to bigotry. I suggest you free your mind from the tabloid media that is constantly bombarding us with this crap.

  • It seems strange reading Arsenal could have a British backbonde as under Arsene Wenger we have not had many English Players. I know when he came here we did in the likes of Adams, Dixon, Winterburn, Seaman, Kewon etc. Then Campbell, Cole etc. Then had the likes of Jeffers and Richard Wright who did not do well.

    But now with Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere and Gibbs it looks much better. Henri Lansbury will be in the first team next season he is the type of player he are missing. Then big Kyle Bartley at center back as fourth choice?

    Still leaves Afobe and Aneke who are English. Any more in the likes of Henderson, Freeman if they ever make it.

  • Rubbish article mate. Flat out as horrible as the whole France and African descent players. You definitely took a chance with writing this mate.

    First of loyalty? You mean like Cashley Cole loyalty or how about Sol Campbell? Didn’t he leave Tottenham to join us. Also half the players were child hood fans of other clubs. I think you are confusing loyalty with the fact that British players simple are rarely targeted by other big clubs and rarely succeed outside of England. Top English teams also simply rarely sell players to each other so this means british players end up staying at one club. That does not mean they are loyal though. Henry was very loyal and only left because it was just the right time. He played through his prime here and even signed a new contract during that time. He would have finished his career here if we wanted him to. As for leader ship, that can come with any nationality. Our captain for the Invincibles was French/ Senegalese right? Look at some of the best captains ever in football. Were they all English? I really don’t even want to comment anymore on this article. Its making me sick.

  • Damn I keep commenting lol.

    On the beating of Manchester United. In the FA cup, the same thing happened. The only difference was Van deer Sar made some great saves and Manchester United finished there couple chances.

  • JET has very quickly become the forgotten man.

  • as long as we do not win anything, the matter of English or not is not as important.

  • I think it´s good for a team to have home-grown players. Like that Catalan team and Manchester United, the two teams in the Champions league final. I would expect Manchester to play at least 3 players that are home-grown and the team from Catalonia will probably have 11 players that are home-grown ! So my point is that the best teams have home-grown talent.

    PS: I think it´s BS that the team needs English spirit i think it needs the Arsenal spirit like RVP and Wilshere.

  • Miyaichi Noodle Soup

    All wee need is players who love the club imo. Those who take great pride wearing the shirt.. you can see it in jack, as we saw it in titi and pv4.. nothing to do with nationality, more about having someone around who can teach the others… :)

  • I would say get rid of Squillaci and Djourou and bring in Kyle Barltey and Gary Cahil.

    • I hate Arsenal fans that like to write absolute nonsense. Maybe get rid of Squillaci but Djourou? Never, he was the reason we managed to go 16 games unbeaten until the Bolton game, the previous 5 games we lost b4 that unbeaten run, Djourou played in none of them. Arsenal were 4-0 up against Newcastle, Djourou got injured, left the field and we conceded 4 (I’m not saying he’s the only factor behind what happened that day). Gary Cahill is the most overrated player in the PL; why? Because he’s English, if he came to Arsenal he should be 4th choice CB, behnind Vermaelen, Djourou and Koscielny

  • Amerigooner

    In actuality, I don’t think that nationality makes much of a difference on the pitch (talent is talent) but where I really believe it makes a massive difference is in the REFEREEING. Not sure if anyone else has noticed this but I’ve often wondered if the Bent Refereeing (as so well documented on Untold Arsenal) is simply home favoritism by the refs and not actually being bent. Ever wonder why “Wazza” and Fat Frank seem to get the benefit of so many refereeing decisions? You already see our Jack getting the benefit of the doubt by refs some times that the “Frenchies” never get. I don’t even think it’s deliberate, I simply think the refs favour English players unknowingly.

  • The BearMan

    How many teams in the Premiership with an entire British backbone will be regulated this season? Now you make the Wenger fete appear to be greater achievement. Assembling perhaps the youngest team in the League, weakest backline, in terms of height and size to compete against English bulldogs and still managed to finish in the top 4. Arsenal from your argument ought to be religated???

    Two things to seriously consider:

    The player many Arsenal fans were screaming at Wenger to by Cahill, in his last few games have been very inconsistent. He despite his physical strength and inclusion into the British squad made little difference, yet he has a price tag at 20m.

    I agree Arsenal lacks experience quality players in the squad, but this nonesense they should all be British is an absolute foolish argument. We need to open our eyes and not allow our Stone Age preduices to poison our system.

  • AceAvenger

    I can’t help but laugh at the people who are anti-English. In nations in South America most youngsters get taught football with the ball in the feet, that is why they are such good ball players, in Spain they get taught to pass. Here in England they get taught to defend, physically and especially from set pieces. You know why? Because most English centre-backs bark out orders and get the whole team ready for it.

    Stop having a go at Nicky, he’s perfectly right, if Barcelona had no Spaniards in their team they wouldn’t be able to pass any where near as well.

    That being said I think the solution to our defensive problem isn’t actually English, he’s a monster from Congo called Chris Samba, he’s a leader, he’s a fighter and he reminds me a lot of the old Sol Campbell, just twice as scary.

    As for the English centre halves, Jagielka is the best candidate from them, I’m not sure about Gary Cahill and the best prospect I can see from any Englishmen is Phil Jones.

    I tend to forget he’s only 19 and he defends with such bravery, not only that but his reading of the game is so fuckin’ good it’s not even funny, only thing he misses is any passing ability but under Wenger’s wing anyone can learn to pass.

    • The BearMan

      I am not anti-British far from, but that argument is like an a water-bucket with holes. Until it is proven on the World stage it will remain an argument best left in the pub! It carries as much weight as the arguement that says the best manager for the National Team must be and Englishman. All our efforts to implement that one came back to bite us on the Arse.

      Arsenal should seek to bring in the best players, because they are the best in that position and not because they are tattooed with, or born in the country of the union jack!

  • i think there should be more english players in our team … how many times have u seen our english players being linked with our f***in opponents. clichiy has not not renewed his contract, nasri is acting like a bitch with his contract, our players are here for money not coz they love the club.
    i dont see the passion in our lads did ul watch the everton man city game… everton ate man city with a bunch of average players the way they pressed the opponents was mind blowing… thats the commitment u see when the players love the club.

    we also need to sort out the team.. coz many of our playres are getting frustrated… we have so many useless players who are never gona make it. we need to get rid of them, send d ones who are not ready on loan and den see if we need to buy players and in wht position… seriously wenger has a lot of work to do this summer and if he dosent sort this out we will not only loose all competitions again but will also loose many key players.

  • The BearMan

    The problem at Arsenal starts with the coaching methods, coaches and it’s main focus over the last decade. The over-whelming concentration and spending had been on Midfielders and in that area we are by far the best in the league. Under Wenger’s tutorial that area appears to have produced our brightest talents. Whereas under George Graham it was the wall of defense. Take a look at the academy both, which department is weakest? Goal keepers and the entire back line. The most industerous is in midfield. I have watched our youth team under Bould and our reserves squad under Banfield this season and I see the same errors occurring as is our first team. A comedy of errors repeatedly occurs. One can only conclude that our focus is narrowed. Arsene should have the best defensive coach sitting alongside him.

    The Verm has proven that he can match any of the Britsh Bulldogs in the Premier League is that a fair comment? The striker that has terrorized most defenses had been Drogba yet Kos managed to silence him. I still say Kos is playing out of position, he should be alongside Song DM.

    • AceAvenger

      Koscielny and Vermaelen are both wonderful defenders, we’ve conceded the least amount of goals from open play out of all the Premier League teams this term, but when the ball is swung in from a set piece or launched in from a corner, then our defence just forget about each other and start running around like headless chickens, we can try and coach them as much as we want but when they cross that white line onto the pitch, it’s no training day routine, it’s business, and they need a leader in defence to get them through.

      A Terry, An Adams, A Samba.

      Big Chris Samba, perfect for our back line.

  • The BearMan

    Where the senior coach or manager seek to concentrate their efforts, that area will always prove strongest.

  • I dont like english players! All they have is physical abilities..never technical,except some very few of them. I’m surprised there’s a lot of noise abt Bartley. I watched his games at Ranger and to be sincere…I’m not impressed! I’ll wait for Miguel to get in de squad than looking forward to Bartley….de current english players should not be rushed..players like Gibbs is overhyped!..I dont see much in him…..but I definately will like to see Landsbury in de squad…de lad reminds me so much of Lyuberg


      Rather then the ‘de’ squad wouldnt you prefer it if they made the ‘A’ team :)

  • I think the best thing about the british players comming through is that they are technicaly better than previous british players “THANKS to Arsen Wenger” in years to come the England team will benefit from his coaching. Nationality itself has no bearing on the fighting spirit of any player. I could name great players from every country who possesed fighting spirit and hard working attitudes.

  • Bearman your thoughts on wenger needs better defencive coaches next to him based on George Grahams achievments is way off the mark George was a striker. Maybe he needs Henry next to him at that rate :)

    • The BearMan

      Again I repeat where a coach puts the most efforts that’s the area which will best strive. Under Graham it was get one goal and shut up shop. His efforts were concentrated mainly on the defense, much like Murinho’s of this decade. Year on year we have heard it said to attack the Arsenal’s backline, that’s their Achilles heel. What have we done about it? Expose it even further!

  • The BearMan

    What would have been a better buy?

    Gary Cahill at 20m or Chis Samba at 5m?

    • AceAvenger

      Samba by a country mile, but Samba will cost more than 5 million to buy, more like 10-15.

  • This whole debate is so sad. The notion that “backbone” is something particularly British. Sorry Jamie, but that’s just BS. How much British backbone have all the teams that have won the World Cup since 1966 had?
    Such an ignorant joke.

  • Bergkamp is no1

    Great article, i am delighted that there are more british players joining the team, now i just hope Wenger buys Scott Parker so we finally have a decent backup for Song.

  • I think everyone has jumped on thwarting homophobia racist bus without really thinking through what the article is about.for the last few years all and sundry have been moaning that there are no British players at arsenal. All of a sudden we have walcott wilshere ramsey and gibbs well established with Lansbury jet bartley afobe not too far behind. The article is basically saying that every title winning team has a backbone of British players and that we now look we have one. I did not read anywhere that foreigners were not as good or that British is better. Lets face it is there anyone out there that would not prefer Lansbury to denilson jet to rosicky bartley to squillaci gibbs to traore. That is not because they are British but because those 5 changes would improve our squad. I would also like to see Almunia replaced by Shea and mannone replace lehmann. I want to see coquelin given a chance instead of eboue. Its a shame for afobe that he is probably a year or two from replacing Vela or bendtner and i don’t think we have a replacement just yet for diaby. Therefore as well as Samba i would like us to buy either parker rodwell or Inler and sell diaby. I would also sell bendtner and Vela and go for young and bent or benzema and hazard.

  • J, have you heard much about Gibbs’ apparent frustration abut not being played and AW needing to have a chat with him? This was mentioned above too – apologies it if it has been answered…

  • Robin Jack Williams

    The main reason I would prefer English players to break through at Arsenal is because I’m English and it would surely help the national team if more players were included that have been brought up the Arsenal way. Also wouldn’t have such a sick feeling supporting an England team in say 6 years, that included Bartley, Gibbs, Aneke, Afobe perhaps. Pretty horrendous having to cheer on Lampard, Terry and Cole every other summer. I imagine by that time I’ll just be crying in to my pint as Jack gets burnt out and Ravel Morrison gets locked up the day before the world cup for smacking his missus around though

  • i agree we have a great set of british talent coming thorugh but how can they all play. one of our main problems is a lack of experience, and we are stil yet to find this. these players are wanting regular first team football and if they were at other clubs they could probably get this. there is only room for so many young players in our team but i feel only the very best of them should play now. IMO players like randall, traore and eastmond dont have a future in the arsenal 1st team and should be sold. we have many young quality players abroad as well in the likes of miatchi and silva who given a few years will also be hoping for a spot in our 1st team. alot of people are saying go buy this player and that player but like wenger says this will only cause less 1st team action for the young players. i cant see how all these players fit in and stay happy without regular football. either we buy new quality players or bring through the youth, thats the dilema

  • While I believe there’s a valid point being made here and I agree that homegrown players can be better I’m still reminded of the loyalty Cole showed Arsenal and Campbell showed Spurs. These players were great for us but I think that VanPersie has more loyalty in his big toe than both of them combined and he’s not a British national. I think the grit you’re talking abut comes more from loyalty and a desire to do well for your club, nationality doesn’t matter if that’s the case. Then again it would be great to have a Gerrard or Terry in the team.

  • English Grit? Like melting under the pressure of penalties? This article is crap. The only reason English players are important is because the English referees let them get away with 2 or 3 times as many fouls before they start handing out cards, if they card them at all… That and the fawning media says all kinds of ridiculousness about how wonderful the English players are, which of course convinces all of the idiots to support them. Yeah, this is just what Arsenal needs.

    Probably the worst Article I’ve ever seen on this usually excellent blog. More fitting of LeGrove.


    I think in conclusion we can say that a team made up with a blend of technically gifted home grown players and a mix of foreign talents with the right sort of spirit shown by Arsenal legends – Henry , Viera , Lungberg , Pires and Bergkamp is the is a winning formula.That said , any player with a desire and will to win from any country is the right sort of player.Arsenal definitely need the players to show the passion that we saw last week against Man Utd.

  • I dont’t rate Gibbs highly at all. Not a good defender by any means, i think he’s just in the position of the fringes of the first team as their are a lack of left backs at Arsenal and because he’s english.

    • He looked good last season, but very poor this year. I wouldn’t write him off. I think he has the mentality to succeed but sometimes young players go through this sort of thing it seems.
      It is distressing how quickly traore was written off by comparison, though. He played about 8 games last season, 6 of which he was actually superb in, more than just good enough, but in two he was poor. The 1st was against chelsea, when everyone was poor, and the 2nd was against everton and he was directly up against a very in-form landon donovan. He is a young defender, and he shouldn’t be written off either.
      I still think both are very good, young fullbacks, but we need to have patience with them. Botelho could well provide further competition next season, which will make it even more interesting.

    • Also jenkinson (not sure if right or left back is his main position), who looks quality from the one video of him I’ve seen.

  • Ok, aside from the racist article, is anyone else annoyed seeing 6′ 4″ Bendtner playing as a winger. How does the whole world know Bendtner is not a winger but Wenger doesn’t? It is really starting to irritate me.

    • Seeing as
      1. Bendtner didn’t play as a winger.
      2. He had a good game,
      I fail to see why anyone should be irritated.

      But I do find the idea that ‘the whole world’ (a handful of clueless pundits) believes itself to have a better understanding of Arsenal and its problems than its manager, winner of 3 Premier Leagues and 4 FA Cups, very amusing indeed.


      @Wrenny , you deserve a medal !! Hit the like button !!! I like .

    • Im actually rather affended you have called it a racist article! You clearly don’t know what racism is! I am simply mentioning that we have some British players in the first team now, which we haven’t had for a few years. I think it is important to have some local lads in the team. That is nothing to do with racism! Get your facts right, and perhaps even re read the article before writing such an ignorant, obnoxious comment!

    • But nick, we had ONE relatively local lad in wilshere. Ramsey is hardly local. And besides, you have to explain why it is important to have local players. It seems that you haven’t provided anything of substance to explain this stance. Obviously the term “racist” is inflammatory, and not the correct term to use in this case (I think Shane just used it flippantly while making another point), but to single out players as more important or better, and to ignore the equally important contributions of foreign players, purely because they are British or “local” or whatever, IS bigoted.

    • Mate, your getting completely the wrong end of the stick. I havent singled out players a more important or better and I havent ignored the important contributions of foreign players. I htink if you read the article through, I also mention that the qualities foreign players add. Im not an idiot, of course i realise talent should come ahead of nationality. However I htink this is the first time in a few years Arsenal have some real good British youngsters and I think it is something that has been missing! Why? Well again, I think if you read through the article I have explained that. You may disagree, agree, thats why I enjoy writing articles, but please don’t be so naive as to call the article racist or bigoted, it is nothing of the sort.

    • First off, please don’t think I’m calling you stupid but I think you’re missing something, just the same as you think I’m missing something. I don’t wish to offend you and I don’t think you’re hateful or anything like that.

      In response to your comment:
      “good British youngsters and I think it is something that has been missing”
      –> “Determination, passion and desire are some of the main qualities associated with british players” – yes, but I think to say this is mainly by the “patriotic” BRITISH press who are selling this British league to the world.
      Also, this term “British backbone” seems a little ambiguous. No one has defined what is meant by the “backbone”. I’d assume it means the elements of the side that make the team particularly hard to score against or beat in a match. In that case, it is false to say that the best sides have a british backbone because ours involved lehmann, toure, vieira, gilberto, edu etc; chelsea’s included/includes cech, makelele, gallas, carvalho, essien etc; and Utd’s includes evra, rafael, vidic, van der sar etc. as well as their british players – therefore to say that they were/are built on a British backbone IS to ignore the contribution of the foreign players, and to give additional credit just to the british players – and therefore it IS bigoted!

      I think it is fair to say it is little more than coincidence that no club has won the league without a British CB for however many years. Sub carvalho or vidic for sol campbell (who is of course a truely GREAT CB) into the invincibles side, and I doubt very much it would have made much difference.
      At this point, the arguments are just being repeated, but sol campbell was great for us because he was sol campbell. If he had come from the other side of the world, it wouldn’t have mattered.

      In terms of stability – a.cole severely undermined the stability of arsenal, and campbell is infamous for his lack of loyalty to spurs and other clubs. Bentley switched and engrossed himself in the culture of our biggest rivals, just to show us the finger (it seemed).

      I’m pretty sure you would agree on these points, in which case I don’t see the point of the article at all, unless it is just to say “it’s nice to see quality young, british players at the club”. Many would agree with you, but I just see no reason for it. To me it’s just nice to see quality young players at the club and there is no reason to involve their nationality in the discussion.

    • By the way, I greatly appreciate you willingness to present your views and defend them openly. It is a touchy subject, and when I say words like “bigoted”, I mean them only in relation to parts of the article; in particularly the meme of the british backbone. I sincerely do not mean them as an attack on your character.

    • Cool mate, no worries. Thats why I write an article to spark some debate.

      I agree with alot of your points! Of course its not just British players who have determination etc, but i think the point i made is that it coincides with the league. I genuinely think a young lad who has grown up in that country, has a real affiliation with the club they make it with. Granted ramsey and walcott were bought from other clubs, but i just think it is similar to the likes of scoles/giggs whose main aim was to play fo rone of the biggest clubs in england, compared to perhaps a player from say spain for example whose perogative is most likely to be barca or madrid.

      Yeh, I agree the term ‘backbone’ is maybe ambiguous, I was relating it to wengers comment and the way i look at back bone is not just the positions they play on the pitch, but the stability and consistency they bring to the football club for example. For example your right, keown didnt play a major part in the invincible year, but im sure his presence was vital. I agree though, this can be the same for foreign players, but again i don’t think i have disregarded what foreign players add to their clubs. Im simply pointing out that arsenal have lacked any form of british players over recent years and i do think it is something that you need in a club. even for little things like language, understanding the english mentality, culture to help players from abroad.

      again your right about ashley cole, but i think were both in agreement that the blokes a coont. ha

      mate, when wenger says that nationality should have nothing to do with who plays etc….i couldnt agree more, but he has certainly focused on trying to bring in british players, for i think the reasons ive mentioned.

      I love how diverse our club is and what every player regardless of nationality offers. I just think it is nice to have a mix and that you do need some home grown players in your squad, and its a great time for arsenal as we have put so much time and effort in to our youth system to help produce young british players. and it is starting to pay dividends.

      The ‘local lads’, i mean come on you know what i mean. ;)

      But i still stand by, that it is not a racist or bigoted article. its just an article to bring a bit of debate.

      Always happy to reply back mate! Sorry you didnt enjoy the article, but hopefully ive cleared up some points

  • The BearMan

    Today’s game proves BiG changes needs to be made at Arsenal. Starting with new coaches, several new players including more experienced players.

  • dont agree wit nationality, dont think that matters…grit does, resilience does…some of the greatest fighters through times are foreign…dont think we need to change the whole side, some leaders who have great resilience are needed to guide a very very talented side…and some guys, though talented, need to go

  • …and it is unfortunate that they have to go, because though talented, and still can be top, they just lack the last bit; arshavin, rosicky, bendtner (what happened to his fighting spirit???), almunia, denilson, diaby etc. Dont agree about Eboue, like many say, still good back up unless we get someone to really push sagna

  • @wrenny, Bendter did play in a wide position he came on for arshavin. VPersie was playing CF and Chamakh was STR.

  • I think our coaching staffs needs a big shake up especially the defensive department.

  • Wrenny, you honestly are one of the biggest morons on here. Bendtner clearly was playing out wide and has been playing there all year when he comes on. Seriously were you even watching the game? As for the rest of your comment, anyone who knows me on here knows I am a huge Wenger supporter and often defend him in the fact that he deserves more praise then negative comments , but it is not hard to see that some things just aren’t making sense. The whole putting strikers out wide is one. In fact, one of Wenger’s biggest flaws to me is substituting players. Often times we just throw on random attackers in random positions which rarely works. All it does is cause chaos.

  • Nick Love…. Choose the word you would like? Probably the wrong word , but same concept. You are putting people above others just because of their nationality. Now, people are getting confused with this whole local lad thing. That is completely different then what this article was about. I am all for the development of players from the neighbor that often grow up as boyhood Arsenal supporters. It makes for a nice story and they do often develop a passion for the club but now days, that is less and less because money rules football now. Now this article is about English players (not local players) being more important, better leaders, hard workers and more loyal than players from another nation. That is wrong and flat out garbage. Nationality or Race should not play any part in why you are chosen or not. Hell, I am American, my favorite team is English with a french influence, my favorite manager is french, my favorite player is Russian and the 2 jerseys I own are Wilshere (English) and Arshavin (Russian). My favorite player all time is from Brazil (juninho pernambucano). My favorite defender ever is from the Ivory Coast. Where any of these people are from bears no impact on my opinions or support for/about them.

  • Davi….thanks mate. Yah, did use the wrong word. Should have been bigotry. All your points are what was obvious to most of us. It is a shame you had to dumb them down for the guy to understand.

    Nick Love…. I didn’t even realize you wrote the article. Thank god it wasn’t Jamie but he still should not let this rubbish be put on his website.

    • Even though your comments don’t really warrant a reply. Please look at my response to the much more open minded davi

  • Nick Love – Your article didn’t even deserve all this attention and your article was what was close minded. Maybe you should read it again. As for the Local lad thing. There is a big difference in being British and being a local lad. Then in your recent comment all you did was kind of agree that your article was stupid and wrong. You agreed with most of the points the Davi made.

    As for the whole British players wanting to play for british teams. I have put my opinion on that in my first comment on this article. British player not leaving England often is more do to the lack of success they tend to have. Even look at guys like Ian Rush who have tried it. There is a comfort zone with british players in England but that does not mean there is any more loyalty involved. Money runs football and with a team like Manchester City now I guarantee you will see more players bail on their teams. As also mentioned you can not just exclude Ashley Cole like is not british. There are plenty of other examples to like Campbell, Gardner who moved from Aston Villa to Birmingham. Bentley joined Tottenham. Steve Sidwell joined Chelsea. Joe Cole joined Liverpool.

  • Your a little too sensitive mate

  • Nick Love…. That is exactly how people act when they know they are wrong. They just turn to cheap insults. Cheers

  • I dont think British comes into it, we just need a backbone full stop. Too many players go missing when we need to dig deep. Nationality is irrelevant, I’d class Evra, Vidic and Valencia in this mould for United, Drogba shows glimpses of it and we used to have the likes of Vieira and Petit who did also. I think its more the mark of thye man than whats on his passport.
    Chris Samba was a prime example of this against West Ham at the weekend, when all those around him were capitulating he stood tall and made the difference but he doesnt do that enough and his technical ability is too archaic for our style of play. We definitely need some investment in the summer but we also need players with the club at heart like Wilshere shows, something you cant buy. More interesting than playing staff is the situation with Wengers no.2, I think we need a different view in the dressing room not a yes man. Like Queiroz was with Ferguson but this season more than any other he has shown that he could do with someone to take some of the pressure off.

  • Wrenny, that was just part of my comment. My whole comment was not just an insult. I gave a rebuttal just like I did now. If I responded by just saying….”You are a moron” then ok. By the way, you still have answered why you posted that Bendtner was was not playing winger….lol.

  • Proven figther with PL experience ala Samba can maybe do the same job as say Cahill. But An English player understands better what it takes to play in the PL. The English are also known for being fighters and have strong mentality! = What Arsenal needs

    This comes from an Norwegian\Dutchman

  • Hello gents, just a quick note to applaud the various well constructed arguments and opinions contained here.
    It is refreshing to read peoples opinions that truly care about the club rather than sensational articles written in the papaers to carry favour at that particular time of print….whom then will no doubt contradict themselves later!
    For what it’s worth i personally care more about character and technique than nationality. However the value of a local player (ie through the youth sytem) must surely be seen with Utd as a good example whereby the players on the perhipary are more inclined to stay at the club as a squad player having been rasied with that particular clubs values and traditions hence spouting greater loyalty. alas with our squad players brought in from other clubs they often get fustrated in a squad and want to move on. Fletcher etc at utd were never 1st teamers to begin with but stuck with utd and are now invaluable to there cause.
    we lack this loyalty in our squad and hence often have to rely on youngsters to be back up rather than seasoned pros…..your thoughts??

    • Cristian Juanma Zuenfo

      I think that’s just the Daily Mail talking bull again…
      “Pires tells Arsene to buy English grit” (!!!), when what he actually said was “he also needs more English players in his team.

      ‘You need that mix. You need English players because they have the experience of the league. When they are mixed with the French, Germans and the Spanish, you have a good blend.”

  • 5 British players sign contracts, with Wenger quoting…. “I’m a strong believer in stability and I believe when you have a core of British players, it’s always easier to keep them together and that’s what we’ll try to achieve going forward.”

    Cough cough, ahem

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