Being the same age and playing in the same midfield since they were both 10, Emmanuel Frimpong and Jack Wilshere have been compared, not in terms of ability but in terms of where they are in their Arsenal careers. I think we take their age for granted – Jack is still very young to be playing regular first team football and Frimpong, in my opinion, is just getting started.
In the summer, many people put him on the ‘deadwood list’ after not making a proper impact in the first team for some time. However, his injury record is horrendous for a 21-year-old and hasn’t had enough time to prove himself. After making his debut against Liverpool in 2011 (and clearly being man of the match until he got sent off) everyone thought he was a big part of Arsenal’s future. But on that day, our squad was paper-thin. I even recall us playing Samir Nasri, who already had one foot (and his wallet) in Manchester! Frimpong was only being used as cover for a squad without then Alex Song (suspended) and Mikel Arteta (not signed yet).
In my opinion, I still regard the Ghanaian as a reserve/Under-21 player at the same level as players such as Hector Bellerin, Nico Yennaris and Benik Afobe. I don’t hear anyone saying their time is up at the Emirates because they’re hanging around without breaking into the first team? If anything Frimpong has more of a chance of making it in North London due to the fact that he’s already had first team playing experience whilst also training with world class players every day.
When he plays he never catches the eye like Song and Francis Coquelin used to do; that’s because he’s disciplined when playing in front of the defence and doesn’t do anything silly or make stupid passes/runs up the pitch. He is a player who, in my opinion, possesses genuine talent. Most Arsenal fans will disagree due to his off field ‘antics’ with his ‘Stay Dench’ brand and his ridiculous ways of talking, but I feel that Frimpong will make it at Arsenal if he stays injury free and focuses on his football.Published 01 Dec 2013, 01:52 IST