'They do things you can't coach' - Jack Wilshere hails four Arsenal youth team stars
- Wilshere in charge of Arsenal's youth team
- Picked four players who have been brilliant
- Beat Cambridge United to seal FA Youth Cup semifinal spot
WHAT HAPPENED? The midfielder hung up his boots last July and has since been guiding the Arsenal U18s side to hone his coaching skills before taking charge of a senior side. Wilshere himself is an Arsenal academy graduate, which has made him aware of the qualities that are demanded by the north-London club. His troops registered a thrilling 3-2 win in an FA Youth Cup contest against Cambridge United last week to seal a spot in the semi-finals. He was particularly impressed with four players who he thinks are prodigies as they have the ability to pull off things that are beyond the coaching manual.
WHAT THEY SAID: "There are some things that you see from Myles Lewis-Skelly, Ethan Nwaneri, Bradley Ibrahim, Jimi Gower — they do things you can't coach," Wilshere told The Athletic. "That's why they're at Arsenal. They need a few things tactically. I like my midfielders to be on the half-turn, play forward and touch forward, dribble if you can.
"We had some moments of brilliance when Myles drives, when Ethan's on the half-turn, when Amario Cozier-Duberry's one-v-one. If we can get more of those then we'll be all right. You see it tonight, even though it was Reuell Walters at centre-back. When you drive forward it just changes the picture."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lewis-Skelly is likely to be rewarded with a new contract as the defensive midfielder has been a standout performer in the Youth Cup, registering three assists. Ibrahim is also a holding midfielder who is versatile enough to slot in as a centre-back, and has appeared in Mikel Arteta's senior Europa League squad this season. Meanwhile, Nwaneri made history after becoming Arsenal's youngest-ever debutant back in September when he was brought on as a substitute in the 3-0 victory against Brentford away from home. Last but not least, Gower, is tipped to become a clinical poacher in the future, and the youngster already has four goals to his name across all competitions for the U18s this season.
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WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL U18s? Wilshere will next rally his troops against West Brom in the U18 Premier League on March 4.