Daily Archives: November 20, 2007

Hoyte’s Believing in His Own Talents

Just as the England doom-mongering appears to die away, Justin Hoyte chooses to air his views on his squad status at Arsenal.

The English defender, who’s risen through the ranks at the club, is desperate to get into the first team, but realizes the task in front of him. Justin says:

I want to be an Arsenal player. You never know what can happen in football but I know I am going to knuckle down, train hard, work hard and perform when I get my chance. It is tough at the moment because the team is doing so well and a few players are not getting into the team. It’s up to us to take our chance if there is an injury.

I have always liked Justin Hoyte – an elegant and defensively sound right-back who is technically adequate for Arsenal’s needs. What has seen him fall down the pecking order has been his lack of flair in attack – Arsene Wenger has always preferred wing-backs to traditional right and left backs, which was a problem that Justin Hoyte needed to address.

If he is aware of this, all the best of luck to him in training and addressing these issues. Behind Sagna, I would still push for Hoyte over Eboue as back up for right-back – Hoyte is certainly closer to a Lauren emulation than Eboue is; the latter who certainly must be concentrating on specialising in his new midfield role.

Hoyte’s situation with Sagna’s arrival does demonstrate one or two things with regards to this ‘Give English Players a Chance’ rhetoric, though. I will be the first to say I am a fan of Justin Hoyte’s, but no-one can deny Sagna as being one of the better new arrivals in the league thus far this season. His seamlessness in slotting into the team; his burly runs down the right wing; his dedication and crossing all make for a very solid player plying his trade in Arsenal’s wing-back slot.

Consider then, if Hoyte had been allowed the first team slot instead of Sagna, as Steven Gerrard and co. so desperately want. Would Hoyte develop into a better player than Sagna? Lauren? Lee Dixon? Would the young Englishman improve after so many outings in the first team, per some quota?

The fact remains that there is no way to say that Hoyte will improve to the Sagna’s level, or to the level that Sagna himself will improve to. Furthermore, the idea of a quota would never improve the English team, for one moderately simple reason: Were Hoyte, Ashley Cole, David Bentley, et al, to improve to a world-class level, it would not be from playing amongst their peers. Birmingham City, Derby County, and all sorts of other relegation fodder have fielded squads of 10-12 Englishman, and see how far that got them.

No, the world-class English players that have made it have made it because of the foreign talents around them. Would Walcott have learned his still-maturing trade were it not for Henry? (Would he have even joined were it not for Thierry?) Would David Bentley not have hit the spotlight without training in the aura of Dennis Bergkamp?

Simply put, the Premier League is what it is because of the foreign influx. Perhaps one day another good generation of English players will come through – the U-21s do actually look good value for money – but at this point in time, England isn’t producing for well-publicized reasons. A Premier League with quotas is a lesser product than even the German and Italian leagues. And that is an abysmal thing to say.

Moving along, and Arsenal.com have highlighted how our run of form is comparable to past title successes, though the one near-unattainable one is that of the Invincibles. It’s somewhat unnerving that the 03/04 season keeps on being brought up – one thing to remind people of is Newcastle in the 96/97 season. Not the same kind of run we’re on, but they were running away with the league for quite a while. Keep the feet on the ground, please.

In other Arsenal news, we continue to be linked to Jussi Jaaskelainen. Underwhelmed, much?

Finally, keeping the International-crap to a minimum: Wenger’s spoken about how England should reinvigorate their tactical approach to the Croatia game, and Fabregas has gone all Pro-Spain in bigging up his national team.

And that’s that for now. Just four days until proper football returns. Counting the seconds, people.


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