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Defender challenges young Gunners to step up to rigors of European football

By Adrian Fisk

Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre is confident that his side’s younger players have the qualities to succeed in European football, but believes they must prepare mentally for the challenges that lie ahead.

Arsenal will complete the group stages of the Champions League against Olympiakos on Wednesday night and having already guaranteed qualification to the latter stages of the competition, Arsene Wenger is expected to send some of his younger stars into the fray.

Silvestre is in no doubt that they have the ability to perform at the highest level having witnessed their talents first hand, but stressed the importance of taking the correct mental approach.  

"Playing alongside them already this season in the reserves and last week in the Carling Cup at Manchester City, you can see they have the quality to play at the top level," he said, as quoted by Press Association Sport.

"Technically and physically they are ready, but after it is mentally where they have to step up."

"It is a good opportunity for them to test themselves in the Champions League."

The French international has played a bit part role in Arsenal’s campaign so far this season and admitted that being a spectator has often been hard to endure. He hoped for better luck against the Greeks.

"It is difficult to stay in shape because you can train as hard as you want, but the reality is the game is completely different.”

"I have shown I still have the pace to play at the top level, and I have been involved in some good games already this season.

"Hopefully tomorrow will be another one."

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