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Great teams make great players

'Jack is a great player but he will only be great if the team is great,' Arsene claimed in welcoming Wilshere's return to fitness.

At the same time the newsfeeds report that Jose Antonio Reyes is struggling to find a place in the Sevilla team he rejoined at the beginning of the year following a career that has drifted since leaving Arsenal despite winning La Liga as a squad player with Real Madrid.

Reyes joined Arsenal as a relatively big money signing from a successful Sevilla side and helped a great Arsenal side to the title in the unbeaten season. He started in a blaze of glory knocking Chelsea out of the FAC and looked as though he would go on to prove to be a great player until he was kicked out of the game at Old Trafford as our record breaking unbeaten run came to an end. He'd joined a great team and was talented enough to be a great player but he'd joined a team whose powers were on the wane with an indifferent season in 2005 despite winning the FAC, and one which found the following season even harder going despite making the CL final.

Arsenal have had a number of great players since our greatest title winning achievement. We've acquired a number of players many of whom individually, fit and at their peak, like Rosicky, Gallas, Cesc, Nasri, RvP, Sagna, Arteta, Cazorla and maybe others wouldn't have been out of place in the 2004 side.

Others have had greatness thrust upon them. Adebayor became a 24m player on the basis of a good goal tally in an ultimately unsuccessful 2007/2008 title tilt just as Kolo Toure, aided by a key role as an invincible, became a world class centre back, and maybe more controversially fellow invincible Ljungberg a much admired midfielder as a result of the success the team they played for enjoyed. Thierry became a great player only when he joined Arsenal and a successful squad player in a great team when he left.

A great team can make greats of its players if it achieves success. It's generally accepted, by Arsenal fans at least, that Lehmann was a great keeper but how hard is it to imagine that if Almunia for example had been between the sticks in 2004 that he would have been seen as a great too? That will be hard to swallow and provoke much scorn given the Spaniards travails in an unsuccessful Arsenal side at time when frustration with the lack of success was most vociferous. The more popular claim would be that he would have let in more goals. I'm not sure that's true and while it is impossible to prove or disprove such idle speculation my point is that great teams do make great players - or more accurately perhaps makes players great. It's partly a matter of perception but also the boost that self belief and confidence gives a player's inherent talent as the result of success and consequent acclamation.

Whether Jack Wilshere will be a great player depends much on his ability and determination but he'll be seen as a greater player if he wins something as a key component of a successful team.

Great teams always make players great and sometimes great players make great teams but only success makes greats of everyone.




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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday October 31 2012

Time: 10:47AM

Your Comments

Quite right and of course, the biggest indicator here is Fabregas. I've often told people I believe him to be the best player I have ever seen at Arsenal, but people often dismiss him with lines such as "we never won anything with Fabregas" despite the fact that we only came as close as we did in that time because of him. History and perspective might judge differently, Fabregas' Arsenal career is similar in terms of length of service and trophies acquired (1 F.A. Cup) as Liam Brady.
Little Dutch
Could you imagine Arshavin in that great team? Mouth watering ...
shewore
I'd imagine any drooling over Arshavin would be of the nature you'd find in a geriatric ward. I could see Sagna replacing Lauren successfully. Gallas in place of Toure would work I think. Not sure that Arteta would get ahead of Gilberto but he might do. Cesc or Nasri instead of Ljungberg would be fine. Pires would still be ahead of Rosicky or Cazorla but either would have been great to have in the squad. RvP instead of Henry or Bergkamp? Even on last seasons form probably not but if so more likely to be at the Iceman's expense. Would we have been weaker with Sczesny in place of Lehmann I wonder?
Amos.
Looking at the topic in general terms and not just Arsenal's, a certain Diego Maradona joined Napoli from Barcelona (at the time, he said it was like he had dropped to a lower league) and after one indifferent season, helped the team to silverware like they had never experienced. That was one of those rare cases where a great player made a team great. George Weah, in his time at PSG, did appear to be a true "one-man-squad". With one cynic referring to the club then as Paris St Georgeweah.

The thing is, the way Arsenal play presently, we are more likely to make players great than the other way round as the case of Reyes, Hleb, Henry and others that suffered the fate of being ordinary after leaving this club, would show. We could use the occasional big name player to take us across the finish, once in a while, though.
Naijagunner
Of course, it is even better if that "big name player" is one of ours, schooled the Arsenal way and growing into something of a world class star. That's what Jack is to this club and that is why we can only hope he fulfills his potential.
Naijagunner
 

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