Wenger identifies what made Cesc Fabregas so special

Fabregas Arsenal

Arsenal boss has been discussing what makes a young player stand out.

Arsene Wenger has achieved a lot at Arsenal, but perhaps his greatest legacy will be the chances he has placed in young players at the club.

Even going back to his first double win in 1998, the faith placed in Nicolas Anelka paid off - even if the striker did not hand around to repay the debt.

His gamble on young forward Thierry Henry turned out to be one of the greatest signings of all time, and even today he is attempting to re-create the success, plucking out young striker Yaya Sanogo from Ligue 2 and playing him up front against Bayern Munich.

The difference nowadays is a lack of success have meant there is less patience with the manager's indulgence in youth, and the trophies have dried up, but even after he departs, his presence will be felt - and perhaps even appreciated even more so.

This season, Serge Gnabry has broken through into the first team, while Gedion Zelalem, and Kristoffer Olsson have also made debuts. Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin, two former Barcelona youngsters, have also been invlved with the first team in training sessions or the squads.

Perhaps Wenger's greatest success after Henry, came in the form of Cesc Fabregas also from Barcelona, who made his debut at 16 and went onto captain Arsenal, before being sold for £35 million.

The manager has been discussing what makes a young player so special, discussing why he brought Fabregas, Wilshere and Zelalem in so early, in an engaging feature article in Arsenal's club magazine.

"You need to be quite brave to put a boy of that age into the team, but you can only be brave if you are convinced that he has something special. Of course when you think about 16 or 17-year-olds, usually it’s not a physical advantage they have – most of the time it’s an exceptional talent or technical ability.

"For Cesc Fabregas it was on the vision front, and his capacity to deliver the final ball. That’s why you believe that most of the time it’s an offensive talent that convinces you to pick a young player. Defensive talents are not often ready at that age because it demands more experience, more reading of the game and the opponent.

"Most of the time he needs an exceptional quality and that you sit there and think, ‘OK, I have to play him."

The Spaniard has gone onto take his career to new levels in Spain, and win trophies which eluded him at Arsenal. 

Without Wenger, however, Fabregas concedes none of it would have been possible, just this year stating: "‘They [Arsenal] are in my heart. They gave me everything. I owe Arsene Wenger basically everything."

Wenger's legacy looks set to continue long past his eventual retirement, with fellow clubs attempting to emulate the Frenchman in handing chances to young players, none more evident than Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers at present.

Arsenal's big challenge is not only honing the skills of the next Fabregas, touted to be Gedion Zelalem by many, but making sure he sticks around and becomes a champion with the club where the Spanish midfielder failed to.

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