Arsène Wenger’s record at blooding young players is second to none.
Perhaps the financial constraints shrouding the club have a part to play, but if his record at Monaco is anything to go by, Wenger has always preferred to see young protégés moulded to play football his way rather than buy them ready-made.
Last season there was a lot of talk about Jack Wilshere being the star of the Reserves, with one goal against West Ham Reserves in particular catching the eye.
When he ran rings around an experienced Real Madrid defence, it underlined that we have someone truly special on our hands.
What he doesn’t have in pace and power, he makes up for in wit and determination...
The fact that Wilshere has already made his Premiership debut is encouraging, but for me, Wenger needs to put last week’s comments about his England potential into practice.
I don’t expect the boy to start Premiership games, nor do I expect him to win us the title this season.
There will undoubtedly be undue pressure heaped on Wilshere as he impresses, and cloggers coming along intent to stop him by fair means or foul.
I’ve often wondered, when games are sewn up, why Wenger doesn’t give our new star a run-out.
Ten or 15 minutes here or there when we have a two or three goal advantage would provide a huge amount of experience and help him step up to the next level.
But there’s a flip side.
When we’re struggling to break sides down, while I don’t expect Wilshere to win us games on his own, he has the ability to pick out a pass that could break down tiring defences.
Maybe a torrid afternoon in the Potteries is not the place to blood a youngster, but I think Wilshere would learn just as much from coming on when we’re struggling as he would from being eased in when the pressure is off.
Although Wenger cites our defeats againstM*nure and Ch*vski as reasons why we lost the title last season, it was also our inability to break down the likes of Birmingham, Villa and the Middlesbrough that cost us the title.
Wilshere gives us something different and a player who I fully expect to live up to the talent and develop quickly into a first-choice player.
I can even see him replacing Cesc Fabregas if, as some fear, he leaves us for Barca next summer.