Date: 29th March 2015 at 2:19pm
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Jose Mourinho has never lost a football match to Arsene Wenger in 12 games spanning 11 years since their first meeting in 2004, and in this period won almost the same amount of trophies the Frenchman has managed all-career – 15 trophies to Wenger’s career 17(if, like me, you’re generous enough to count the Emperor’s Cup and J-League Super Cup he won with Japanese club Nagoya Grampus in 1995 and 1996 respectively), including 2 Champions League, 2 Premier League, 2 Serie A and 1 La Liga – but the Special One nevertheless has a lot to learn from his Emirates Stadium counterpart in the area of youth development and deployment.

In the wake of having seen Nathan Ake sent out on loan, again, with less than a quarter of the season remaining, the Portuguese has to see what Wenger does to unearth and keep the Francis Coquelins of that their squad. Even our Cesc Fabregas who can be argued got most of his footballing education under the 65-year-old could probably have been sent on loan had he been with the Miroslav Stochs then at our underrated academy. Miroslav Stoch. Remember him?

I’m not talking the Theo Walcotts or the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlains that AW ‘pilfered’ from Southampton or his other youngsters like the Aaron Ramseys signed from elsewhere either as first team starters or squad players, I’m talking graduating pupil(s) from the club academy or keeping “serious” faith with gifted ones bought from abroad like the Thorgan Hazards and the Lucas Piazons of our loan contigent.

Since John Terry we’ve not seen an academy youth hold down a place in our first team – that’s talking 17 long years since Terry came on as a late substitute in a League Cup tie with Aston Villa on 28 October 1998 for his first team debut – and the Ryan Bertrand whom we managed to throw into the first team squad, after having been sent on a wild run of five loan spells at five different lower league clubs in six years, ended up as we all know how. See also how the manager’s promises to *Nathaniel Chalobah and, previously, to a certain Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne went.

(*some of these lads were promised playing time by Mourinho on his return from Spain in June 2013.)

Wenger keeps getting it right with the kids and has almost elevated his specialty with youngsters to an art form, and as Kurt Zouma has proven, Mourinho can also do special things with kids, if and only if he chooses to curb his palpable fear of failing with kids.

With the likes of Lucas Piazon, Thorgan Hazard, Bertrand Traore, Patrick Bamford, Tomas Kalas and er, the whole raft of youngsters we have on loan worldwide and the ones in our academy (academy of champions – young boys who keep winning youth level championships whilst being ignored and deemed not good enough to go anywhere near the first team), it is imperative the Special One looked inwards for squad depth whilst rather splashing the cash on superstar signings per the mooted Gareth Bale, Lionel Messi or Paul Pogba “interests”, as there’s a John Terry, never mind a Kurt Zouma, hidden in some of these boys.