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Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 11:45 UK

Wenger lauds Arsenal youngsters

Mexican Carlos Vela
Mexican Carlos Vela scored a hat-trick on his full senior debut

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his young team which beat Sheffield United 6-0 in the Carling Cup had a "complete" look despite an average age of 19.

Mexican Carlos Vela, 19, led the scoring with a hat-trick while England's Jack Wilshere, 16, scored his first senior goal for the club.

"We looked like the complete team and I'm very proud of that," Wenger said.

"I'm not as surprised as you because I see them every day but you never know how they'll respond on the big stage."

Wenger, who has admitted the group are the best set of youngsters he has coached, watched as 20-year-old Nicklas Bendtner scored the other two goals in a scintillating performance.

"They just went out there and played with the belief we want them to have and with the spirit we want them to have," Wenger said.

When asked if he would change the side as he did for the loss to Spurs in the Carling Cup semi-final last season, Wenger added: "We want to win the trophy with this team.

"We can of course go all the way and we can win it as well. Why not? These players do not play like kids, they play like people with intelligence, with talent and with spirit."


Vela's superb trio gave Wenger a timely reminder of his potential having spent the last 18 months in Spain on loan at Salamanca and Osasuna to gain a work permit.

The teenager has been a hit at international level already having won the golden boot with Mexico as they won the Under-17 World Championships in 2005.

But the way he curled his first goal around United keeper Paddy Kenny, then controlled and chipped him for his second before drilling home his third, will encourage Wenger to hand him his first Premier League start having come on a substitute against Newcastle recently.

Sheffield United's Gary Speed, who at 39 was twice the age of many Arsenal's players, was one of the few United players to emerge from Tuesday night's game with any credit as the Blades were almost bystanders in a footballing lesson.

Boss Kevin Blackwell agreed that his Championship side were simply outclassed.

"They were awesome at times and would have beaten most teams," he said. "We knew they were a good set of lads, but nobody knew how good they were.

"Arsenal are one of the few teams I would pay to watch. I've spoken to Arsene and he's admitted that these are the best single group of players he's had, they're exceptional."

see also
Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd
23 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Tuesday's football photos
23 Sep 08 |  Football
Carling Cup as it happened
23 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle
30 Aug 08 |  Premier League

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