Parlour praises Arsenal youngster

Just to clarify, this article about Ray Parlour isn’t about him rejoining Arsenal to play alongside Patrick Vieira. It has been a strange summer of transfer activity and rumours for the Gunners, but it hasn’t quite gone that far!

Instead, the former Arsenal midfielder has been giving his opinion on one of Arsene Wenger’s most promising young talents, Jack Wilshere.

In a time when many people’s quest for success is centred around spending ridiculous money on players from around Europe, Arsenal are still trying to produce young talent and Wilshere is a great example of this.

How highly does Parlour rate the midfielder though? Well, very highly it seems. He says that Wilshere was a ‘different class’ during the Emirates Cup, during which he picked up two Man of the Match awards and notched a couple of goals.

Parlour was so impressed with Wilshere’s performances that he believes the 17-year-old can ‘act as a benchmark’ for the rest of the young players at Arsenal. This is a big statement to make about a player so young, but it shows that Wilshere has ability and maturity beyond his years according to some.

Another point that Parlour made was that Wilshere’s involvement in Arsenal’s pre-season has proved that if you are good enough to get in the side, you will do – regardless of your age. This isn’t the case at a lot of clubs, so the youngsters at Arsenal should really push themselves to make an impact as early as possible.

Overall, Parlour wants the youth team players at the club to ‘take confidence’ by seeing how well Wilshere is doing. There are a ‘lot of good players’ at reserve and youth team level, so perhaps a bit of belief is all they need to ensure that they start knocking on the first team door.

By Thomas Rooney

Was Emmanuel Eboue misunderstood?

The debate over Eboue is pretty one-sided these days, since the Wigan game I’ve been thinking about the player who was at one time regarded as our best right-back.

These days people see him as more of a liability in his role on the wing. But he isn’t actually our first choice in that position.

I don’t think he is a great winger, but he is a decent defender. A few months ago I wrote a post and one of the comments left was this:

“Wenger probably has been wanting to develop Eboue and make him into a Ray Parlour type player.”

This is partly true, people criticise Wenger for selecting him, but there are several points to be made about Eboue:

  • Wenger plays Eboue because we have no choice – Walcott, Rosicky, Eduardo, Nasri are all reguarly injured.
  • We lack experienced playerswho can fill in – Walcott last year, Vela this year.
  • Wenger may also select him because he sees potential to turn him into a midfielder.

Eboue has the potential to become a good winger – he can cross, we saw that in his days at right back. His main problem is dribbling and passing – he finds it hard to go round players and his control isn’t great – his scoring ability is also reminiscent of Francis Jeffers.

He has been utilised on the left this year – as Theo has made the right wing slot his own. This hasn’t helped – he has had to cut inside to use his stronger right foot. I think that he did have some stronger performances early this season – but he has also played very badly – the Wigan game is an example, I was there.

The Wigan game and the booing have knocked his confidence, and I think that it will take him a while to regain that. It really isn’t helping the team when fans act like that.

Overall he would never be my first choice winger – he doesn’t have the pace, the control, the vision or the passing, and his dirty play and diving only piss off most Arsenal fans. He dives way too much and is extremely petulant. He doesn’t contribute to the team in the way that players like Nasri do, and many attacks end with his mistakes. But the thing is that Eboue is Wenger’s squad player, Wenger doesn’t see him as a first-teamer.

He is a useful utility player, he only gets to play so much due to our injury list. Vela seems to be playing more games, and may eventually be used to fill in on the wings as his performances have looked classy. Eboue is just filling in!

Don’t get on his back – he isn’t a great player, and he does stupid things, but a bad patch of form is just a bad patch of form, remember that he has been played out of position, and when only just returning from injury.

In the end, I’m saying that Eboue  is a useful squad player, we shouldn’t turn him into a scapegoat when things go wrong. I personally will never boo him.