For all his faults, Arsene Wenger has at least worked wonders for a generation of young players at Arsenal.
That is not a policy that has always yielded silverware, but in many ways, he’s been the perfect man for the job in a time of transition for the club, when the move to the Emirates from Highbury meant transfer funds were limited.
The Frenchman has developed countless starlets over the course of his illustrious career, but he has now effectively made a surprise admission that it could have held the Gunners back.
“To be a real football player, you need to be 23 years old because before you have learned your job, you can have a great game and after, sometimes an average game,” he said, via the Daily Mail.
However, he was quick to mention two members of his current squad who are excelling despite their age.
“You can have one or two exceptional talents, like at the moment we have Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi, but the core of the team has to be from 23 to 30,” he added.
In fact, Iwobi and Bellerin have been two of the club’s brightest stars this season, with the latter attracting interest from Barcelona. Iwobi, meanwhile, has largely made up for the void left by the injured Aaron Ramsey.
Yet, in the absence of captain Per Mertesacker, who is also out until the New Year, Wenger may well be worried about a lack of experience in his side. Looking at them right now, at least, it’s difficult to imagine them lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of the season, but they could mature a great deal by then.