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Page last updated at 08:53 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Wenger proud of Arsenal rookies

Arsenal celebrate Simpson's first goal against Wigan
Jay Simpson (far left) was making his first start for Arsenal

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lavished praise on his gifted youngsters after they turned on the style to beat Wigan 3-0 in the Carling Cup.

Jay Simpson scored twice and Carlos Vela added a third at the Emirates.

He said: "We stood up to the test and got a remarkable combination of desire, energy and quality.

"From the first to the last minute we looked really up for it. We had a relentless go. In the end it was a fantastic win."

The margin of victory would have been greater but for an outstanding display by Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland.

Arsenal's young second string thrashed Sheffield United 6-0 in the previous round and Wenger insists he will stick to his policy of blooding emerging talent in the quarter-final.

Wenger added: "It was a big test for such a young team. I will keep them together to see how far they can go. First we had Sheffield United and then Wigan.

"They were different challenges but now you know they can turn up and produce. It will be interesting to go into the quarter-final and to see who we get.

"These boys, they surprise everybody because there is a mixture of character, commitment and calm as well.

"Under pressure they remain extremely calm and play always very good football. What they do on the pitch is not a coincidence, it is quality.

"We are proud, not only because we have won, but because we have won in a convincing style with a lot of quality, energy and team spirit. With such a young team, it is fantastic to see.


"They love it. When you are 17 and 18 and playing in front of 60,000 people, are you inhibited or do you play better? They have chosen the second solution because they have character."

Wigan boss Steve Bruce was also glowing in his praise of Arsenal's youngsters.

He said: "They were frightening on the night. The age of them. Arsene says it is the best crop of youngsters he's had and when you think of the young players they have had in the past, that is some compliment.

"They gave us a torrid evening. We've gone out of the cup with a whimper really. They created more chances against us than any other team this season. "We've had our backsides kicked by a very good, young Arsenal team."

Wenger also believes 16-year-old Jack Wilshere can form a formidable midfield partnership with Cesc Fabregas.

He said: "Cesc and Jack could play well together. They have the same good potential. They are both players of character and they are not frightened of going into the challenge.

"Jack takes the ball no matter where, it's all natural to him.

"He's a different type of player - more of a dribbler, whereas Cesc is more of a passer."

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see also
Arsenal 3-0 Wigan
11 Nov 08 |  League Cup
Carling Cup as it happened
11 Nov 08 |  League Cup
Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd
23 Sep 08 |  League Cup
Wenger heartened by convincing win
11 Nov 08 |  Football
Arsenal Player Rater
13 Dec 06 |  Live Text

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