London (AFP) – Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said the young players eager to establish themselves at struggling Arsenal must “be patient” in their wait for first team action.
The Gunners have endured their worst start to a league campaign in almost half a century (the 1974/75 season) and last won a domestic match on November 1.
Heading into Saturday’s tricky home game with fifth-placed Chelsea they are just four points above the relegation zone.
Aubameyang’s lack of goals is one of the reasons they are in such a predicament having scored just four times.
The form of other experienced players like Granit Xhaka and Willian has fallen away leading to calls for young players to be selected by coach Mikel Arteta.
Folarin Balogun, Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and William Saliba, all under 21, are those most frequently mentioned.
“When you are a young player trying to come through at a club like Arsenal then for sure there’s a lot of pressure,” said Aubameyang.
“You have to be patient too because we have great players who are playing in the first team so it’s always hard to find your way through.
“I remember when I was playing at AC Milan (2008-11) it was always really, really difficult to get into the first team, so I know that type of feeling.”
The former Borussia Dortmund attacker said the Europa League group stage — one of the rare bright spots in their season so far as they reached the knockout stages — had offered valuable experience for the youngsters.
“With the Europa League this season, there have been maybe more opportunities for the young guys to get minutes,” he said.
“We saw a few young players in our last European game and we also have them joining in with training quite a lot lately.
“For them it is not easy, but when you get the chance you have to take it and I think they are doing well when they have had the chance so far.
“You can see that the young lads always perform when they come in because the coaches are doing great work with them to get them ready for the games.
“The rest is down to them.”
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