Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hit out at critics who say he does not give young British players a chance after fielding five in their win over Fulham.
Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey was named man-of-the-match, having pulled the strings as Arsenal claimed their first Premier League points of the season, and was joined on the pitch by England’s Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott. Jack Wilshere was a second-half substitute.
“During the transfer period, people are so much focused on who is coming in that they forget how good our players are,” Wenger said.
“Somebody told me there was an interesting article somewhere in a newspaper. I personally didn’t read it so I don’t give you any guarantee but they (apparently) said we don’t bring players in. But on the other hand, the English players don’t get the chance to play in the Premier League.
“If you look at our team today, you had Jenkinson who gets a chance, you get Walcott who has started with us, you have Ramsey, you have Wilshere, you have Gibbs – all [British] players who get a chance with us. You should give us some credit for that sometimes.”
The Arsenal manager was also full of praise for forwards Olivier Giroud, who scored the opener, and Lukas Podolski, who netted either side of half-time.
“I am pleased for him [Podolski] because he hasn’t started much recently more because of the balance of the team than his performances,” Wenger said. “I am pleased because he plays with a lot of spirit and he can score goals.
“When a player doesn’t play he is not happy and recently he did not always start, but if you look at his and Giroud’s goalscoring record it’s very good.”
Giroud is frequently touted as a player Arsenal need to upgrade to improve their title chances, but Wenger expects him to kick-on this season. “His second season is always better than his first one,” Wenger said. “You could see as well technically today that he was quite impressive. His physical presence up front is very important and I think he looks like he’s much more confident than last year.”
Fulham’s only consolation was a first goal for new striker Darren Bent. Their manager Martin Jol said: “They scored two goals out of the blue, because I don’t think they had a lot of chances in the first half.”