Jack Wilshere in action for Arsenal against West Bromwich
Albion at Emirates Stadium in London earlier this month.
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
England's Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are
among five young internationals to have pledged their long-term
futures to Arsenal, the Premier League club says.
Midfielders Wilshere, 20, and 19-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain,
plus Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey (21) and England defenders
Kieran Gibbs (23) and Carl Jenkinson (20) have all committed
themselves to Arsenal.
"Jack is certainly the best known, the leader of this group -
but the other four players are exceptional footballers, and
we're very happy that we could conclude their new deals at
the same time," manager Arsene Wenger told the club's website
"We are delighted that these five young players have all
signed new long-term contracts," added the Frenchman.
No details on the lengths of the contracts were given though
Wenger was keen to impress that the nurturing of home-grown
talent was one of the club's main objectives.
"I'm a strong believer in stability and I believe when you
have a core of British players, it's always easier to keep
them together and that's what we'll try to achieve going
Arsenal have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and a
host of big names have left the London club since, including
Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas who moved to Barcelona and
talismanic striker Robin van Persie who joined Manchester
Wenger, criticised this season with his side fifth in the
Premier League 15 points behind leaders United and knocked
out of the League Cup by fourth tier Bradford City, has often
put his faith in young players since his tenure began in
"The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young
players, in order to get them to develop their talent at the
club," said the 63-year-old.
Of the five players, Ramsey is the most-capped international
with 25 appearances including several as Wales captain.
Wilshere has won six caps, though he missed 17 months through
injury before returning to the team in October while
Oxlade-Chamberlain has won nine England caps since his debut
Defenders Gibbs (two caps) and Jenkinson (one) are the least
experienced but Wenger said they were all of equal worth to
Arsenal and the club's future.
"Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Wilshere
represent a core of the squad and it's an extension for a
long period for all of them," he said.