Arsène Wenger on youth development and perception

Here an abstract from an Arsène Wenger interview:

As a player whenever I get the ball I have to analyze, then decide and finally execute and perception plays a huge role in this. I worked with a university in Norway to identify how can I improve the perception. Basically, I came to the conclusion that it is about getting as many information as possible before I get the ball. I call that scanning, I try to see what happens to a player in the 10 seconds before he gets the ball, how many times does he take information and the quality of information he takes, depends on the position. What is interesting is that good players, the very good, scan 6 to 8 times in the last ten seconds before we get the ball, the normal ones 3 to 4 and we notice that is a major step for improvement…however, more important, you have to analyze the quality of its perception, decision making. My challenge is to get my players to know which the best choice is and make the optimal decision every time they get the ball. The player has to scan and decide, when he decided he has to make the best possible solution, this means, a compromise between risk and the progress of the ball.


After the quality of execution, when we analyze some players, there are sometimes with good scanning, good perception, good decision making and bad execution, it happens more than you think… The problem in football is that you learn how to play football all the way around, first execution, then decision making and perception at last. I’ve worked with players from all over the world, from all kind of coaches, even with a team of 11 different countries. Our problem is that once a circuit it is printed in their brain and us managers, who speak to top player we find it extremely difficult to change that circuit in the brain. It’s vital not to harm the perception with young boys because they learn first the execution from 5 to 12. The ball is your friend, welcome him…and we have to make sure not to kill the perception. I have lost many top players because their head was on the ball and they were not seeing what was around them. Great players isolate from the ball, their head is like a radar.

You can read full interview here:


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By Francesco Ambrosini

UEFA Youths & Grassroots subCoach • Editor @tacticalpedia • Creator of #PLEX Environment for Coaching #PlayLearn #LiquidSoccer

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