Wenger backs youngster to give Arsenal boost

Arsene Wenger maintains giving youth a chance to shine in the Carling Cup will serve in the best interests of Arsenal's future - whatever the outcome of tonight's quarter-final at Manchester City.

Despite the disappointment of Sunday's 3-0 home defeat by Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea - which left the Gunners 11 points off the pace, albeit with a game in hand - Wenger will stick to the policy of handing vital big-match experience to the younger members of his squad.

The Carling Cup has long been a breeding ground for Arsenal stars of the future, with Cesc Fabregas, now the Gunners' captain, making his debut as a 16-year-old against Rotherham during October 2003.

Wenger sees no reason why the current crop of youthful talent, which includes reserve captain Kyle Bartley, pacy forward Sanchez Watt, versatile Craig Eastmond - who are all 18 - and 19-year-old Spaniard Fran Merida, who netted a spectacular strike against Liverpool in the last round, should not go on to become first-team regulars.

"Let's keep the faith in our young players who keep waiting for this game and I want to give them a chance to play," said the Arsenal manager.

"I believe any result should not influence too much your policy.

"We know what we want to do in the Carling Cup but we also want to win it.

"It is a cup game and I believe, in a cup game, anything is possible."

Wenger added: "A player who has now left the club once said to me, 'it is very different at Arsenal because there is always a young player on your back, ready to take your place and that creates great pressure'. I told him you use that pressure to make yourself a better player.

"When you have only experienced players, there is a little bit of hierarchy installed and expected, but with young players they keep you under pressure - they want to eat you, want to get in front of you.

"I believe this has to be good for the players in the team and the club as a whole."

A full-strength Arsenal side were somewhat unfortunate to lose 4-2 against City back in September, when former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons - with his controversial goal celebration and a stamp on Robin van Persie that saw the Togo striker handed a ban by the Football Association.

Wenger, though, insists tonight will not be about any kind of retribution when they return to Manchester.

"On the day, we behaved how you want Arsenal to behave and so I do not see why we should worry about that," he said.

"What is important is that we focus on our game and do not worry about our opponent too much.

"Of course you want their strikers to be quiet but that is more down to the quality of our defenders."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album