Belfast Telegraph

Wenger backing young Gunners

Arsene Wenger feels Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere are looking "sharp" for a positive campaign - both with Arsenal and England.

The young Gunners duo were surprise call-ups to Fabio Capello's new-look senior squad ahead of next week's friendly against Hungary at Wembley.

"Kieran Gibbs is slowly coming back to his best. That is good news for us and for England I believe," Wenger told the club's official website,

"Walcott and Wilshere were a little jaded [against Legia], but overall they have had a very sharp pre-season campaign."

Wenger has been happy enough with his squad's progress ahead of the opening game at Liverpool next Sunday, as they won the Emirates Cup following a successful training camp in Austria.

However, the Arsenal manager noted: "In pre-season it is important to play the way you want to play. You have to be detached from the result."

Much of the summer was dominated by the transfer speculation over Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas, who has now pledged his future to Arsenal after they continued to reject the advances of Barcelona.

Neither Fabregas nor Holland striker Robin van Persie look set to be involved at Anfield after only just returning from extended breaks following the World Cup final. However, Wenger insists Arsenal will not let the hype shift his squad's attention from landing a first championship since 2004.

"We are not in a Cristiano Ronaldo place. We are just focussed on the new season," the Gunners boss declared.

"Fabregas is one of our best players. We want him to stay and be focused. He will be our captain this season and I hope for many seasons to come."


From Belfast Telegraph