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Arsenal boss Wenger looks for best non-leaguers

Gunners manager says there are very good players to scout down the divisions

02 March, 2017 — By Steve Barnett

Arsene Wenger: ‘In the lower leagues you find many very good, technical players’

ARSENE Wenger has revealed two crucial factors that mark the very best from the rest when it comes to unearthing the rough diamonds in non-league football.

The Arsenal manager is convinced that more players will follow in the footsteps of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Burnley striker Andre Gray by stepping up and making a mark in the Premier League.

A year ago Wenger signed left-back Cohen Bramall from Northern Premier League outfit Hednesford Town for a reported fee of just £40,000, and the 21-year-old has become a firm fixture in the club’s Under-23s side.

Wenger expects more to follow, providing they “live their life” right”.

“I would say the main difference is on the physical side,” the manager told Arsenal Player.

“In the lower leagues you find many very good, technical players, but the Premier League is so demanding physically that to excel at that level, you first of all need to have the necessary physical attributes. The second major difference is on the mental side. To have a big competitive edge is very important at the top level.

“The way you live your life, the way you lead your career and prepare for games, is crucial to be a success at the top level. You need to have all fronts.”

Meanwhile Kieran Gibbs is tipping team-mate Danny Welbeck to “be a force” for the Gunners now that the striker has recovered from a serious knee injury.

Welbeck recently admitted he “hated” playing against Gibbs when they were younger, but the left-back says their battles over the years have helped them get to where they are today.

“We had a lot of battles, me and Danny, growing up. And now we’re together we laugh about it and go over some of the games we played against each other,” Gibbs said.

“You can tell from his story and his background that he’s a winner and he’s really had a big impact coming to the club.

“He’s looking the fittest and strongest I’ve ever seen him.

“It’s important we keep him fit and make sure he comes back at the right time and not rush it too much. Someone as powerful as him, when he’s well managed, can be a real force for us.”

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