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Young stars should avoid Arsenal and the Premier League, warns former Gunners coach

22:34 GMT+3 27/01/2019
Andries Jonker
Andries Jonker believes English clubs are stunting the growth of their younger players and they should look for opportunities in Europe

Former Arsenal academy director Andries Jonker has said he would advise younger players to avoid the Gunners and the Premier League’s other sides.

Several of England’s best young talents have struggled to break into senior sides in recent season and instead, moved to the continent for more first-team opportunities.

Most notable in the group is Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who failed to force his way into Pep Guardiola’s plans at Manchester City, but is now a regular at the Bundesliga club.

Another example is Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, who grew so frustrated at his lack of opportunities at Old Trafford that he left in 2012, only to be bought back four years later for a then world-record fee.

Jonker spent two and half years at the Emirates before joining Wolfsburg in 2017 and experienced similar problems when trying to promote his youth players at Arsenal.

“When I was at Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger sometimes called up a few youth players for a couple of games in the League Cup,” Jonker told the Mirror.

“But when Arsenal had a league game a couple of days later, those boys were never in the squad. And in the next 50 games, Wenger would not pick them, either.

"So I have serious doubts if young talent are making the right step if they go to England at this moment. I would advise them not to go, but to play 100 games in first-team football on the continent first.”

Players such as Reiss Nelson and Donyell Malen have been forced to leave Arsenal in recent seasons in search of more first-team opportunities.

The former is impressing on a season-long at Hoffenheim, while Malen moved to PSV in 2017.

“Take Donyell Malen,” added Jonker.  “At Arsenal, he was a big talent, but he left the club just in time. He realised he was going to end up in what I call no-man’s land.

“Young players in England, who have huge talent, will only go and play in an Under-18 team, and when they are improving, they then only go the Under-23 team. 

So, Jadon Sancho went from Man City to Borussia Dortmund – and he is a sensation there. Reiss Nelson, of Arsenal, is choosing the same route. He is getting plenty of chances and minutes at Hoffenheim.”