The Gunner’s chief executive believes that young players don’t get enough opportunities in the Premier League and their development suffers as a result.
He used Liverpool as an example of how football clubs and players can benefit from the inclusion of more young players in the first team. He said,
“We need to create an environment where managers can be braver and we can give young players a chance. Liverpool have been fantastic this year, they have some young players coming through their system and really generating tremendous excitement within their team because they are being given an opportunity to play.”
New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers took several risks with the introduction of young players such as Raheem Sterling, Suso, and Jonjo Shelvey – all under 20 years of age – in the Premier League. They have performed well and have taken plaudits from the manager, the fans, and pundits alike.
"It would have been very easy for Liverpool not to have that pathway for those young players, much easier than taking the risk of giving them a chance.” Gazidis continued,
“That's critical, it's about philosophy within a club and that's what gives you resilience and gives you real strength and a foundation for success.”
Gazidis has taken pressure from discontented fans and shareholder Alisher Usmanov in recently over claims that Arsenal arse a ‘feeder club’ who can no longer compete at the top level, under manager Arsene Wenger’s policy of selling their star players at their peak in favour of younger cheaper replacements making their way through the club’s ranks.
But Gazidis has stood by his manager, suggesting under new Financial Fair Play regulations, Arsenal’s business model will be the most successful. He even went as far as to recommend the philosophy be introduced throughout the Premier League.
“I think people believe money can be spent without consequence and if we learnt anything from the financial crisis the world has had over the last few years it has to be unsustainable spending and unsustainable environments don't last forever.”
He continued: “The Premier League owners are coming together: I think there is a developing consensus around the fact we need some form of tighter financial regulations to make sure as we look forward that the interest of the Premier League, its clubs and the fans are well protected.”
image: © bernard-chan