Well, I’ve been sunning myself in an English seaside town for a week, so that might explain a few things. And yes, the sun did shine. Wonders will never cease.
You’d think the long break from blogging has produced a backlog of news – well if you call signing Mart Poom on loan a backlog of news then yes, I suppose it has.
The arrival of a long-forgotten Estonian, coupled with the exits of two more Englishmen – Hoyte and Bentley – brought a rather sedate end to the transfer window for us, and whilst we should see more of the former, the latter appears to have burned his bridges somewhat with a petulant outburst. A decent talent, and one I’d like to have seen given more of a chance, but he’s got to prove he’s worthy of his own hype, and he hasn’t done that yet. We shall see.
We’re an English-lite club these days (I do lament this, despite accepting the whole if-you’re-good-enough-you’ll-play thing), but one still battling to make his name is Ryan Smith, back from a long injury lay-off. Good luck to him say I. Trouble is, he’s a left-footed winger – so has to make it past the likes of Pires, Reyes and Hleb first. See how hard it is?
I think it’s well known now that, by and large, Wenger does not buy English players (off the top of my head I can think of only Pennant, Campbell, Upson, Jeffers and Wright in almost ten years, though there must certainly be one or two more), so it’s even more crucial that some come through the ranks at Highbury. Unfortunately, that’s not really happening either – just Cole has made himself a permanent fixture in Wenger’s time. Either our system is failing, or English boys just don’t have the right mental attitude. It could be a mixture of them both. It might be neither.
I totally accept that football is an international game these days, and that players are sourced from over the globe, and I certainly wouldn’t want an English player to play if he wasn’t up to it. Just look at our team for proof: They love wearing the shirt (mostly) and we love ’em for it. That’s the way it should be.
Don’t get me wrong, Wenger’s made few mistakes with the English lads he’s let go, and the current crop of youngsters (Clichy, Senderos, van Persie, Fabregas, Flamini et al) are absolutely superb talents, a joy to behold, but am I alone in wishing that we had a few more English players to compete with them for places?