Wenger was named a Legend of Football at the annual Nordoff Robbins charity award dinner this week, and he took some time to speak to the official Arsenal website on the red carpet at the event.
They discussed a number of topics, including the recent progress of a number of Arsenal’s young players.
Matteo Guendouzi didn’t join until after Wenger’s departure, but there were plenty of rumours of Arsenal’s interest before that. The midfielder has just won Player of the Month with the Gunners and recently got his first senior France call-up, so Arsenal asked Wenger for his thoughts.
“He looks to be a good potential,” Wenger said. “I think there are many other players who have fantastic potential, who played already with me, like Joe Willock and you have Reiss Nelson.
“You have many players who come out and have a big potential and Guendouzi is one of them. It’s part of our DNA at Arsenal. It has always been part of it, to give a chance (to young players).
“I think when you are manager and you can give a chance to a young boy, it’s always fantastic. And when they can play at such a high level like Arsenal, it’s even better.”
Wenger gave Willock his debut in the League Cup during his final season, before going on to give the midfielder further chances in the Europa League, the FA Cup and the Premier League that season.
It didn’t all go well, but the manager kept faith in the youngster anyway, and Unai Emery is now reaping the rewards of that early experience for Willock.
Reiss Nelson’s starring performances at u23 level perhaps made it a bit easier to work him into the first team, but it’s players like Willock who were given chances under Wenger when they may not have got them from someone else.
Given how well Willock is now performing whenever he takes to the pitch, we have to be grateful to the former Arsenal boss!