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Bould: Latest Arsenal crop look the goods

Arsenal youth boss Steve Bould insists his players will be stronger for their Champions Youth Cup campaign in Malaysia.

The Gunners failed to get past the group stage, but Bould explained to arsenal.com: "Looking at Flamengo they could get very close to winning the tournament.

"All but a couple of them were 19 and we played Jack Wilshere, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Cedric Evina, Sanchez Watt [all 16-years-old], and those boys did really well to hold on considering. Gilles Sunu even had a fantastic chance to make it 2-2 near the end, so we might have escaped with a draw.

"They had so much more power and pace and the kid up front who scored both of their goals [Rodrigues ] was a little bit hard to handle for most of our youngsters. It was a completely different type of football too. They were very cynical as well as very talented. It was a new experience because the boys are used to coming up against English footballers who are perhaps more honest.

"Against Milan we were a bit flat in the first half. We made some changes to our system at half time and dominated the second half. Again, we had a great chance to equalise but unfortunately Nacer Barazite miscued. Had we taken our chances we probably wouldn't be coming home - but then everyone could say that."

Bould added: "I think the whole [Arsenal] system is healthier a year on.

"We've got a really good crop of players coming through once again. We're possibly a little bit younger again but that's no problem, in fact it's the way it should be. I think that's the right way to progress and I'm really looking forward to this season."

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Tribal Football Staff

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