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21 July 2017

Arsenal are the best team in the Premier League when it comes to handing their academy graduates first-team action

ARSENAL are the best Premier League team… when it comes to handing their academy graduates first-team minutes, that is.

Arsene Wenger was clearly keen to keep it in the family during the 2016-17 season, as 19.4 per cent of minutes played in the Premier League were taken by former youth products.

Arsene Wenger utilised his academy graduates heavily in 2016-17
Arsene Wenger utilised his academy graduates heavily in 2016-17
Getty Images
Hector Bellerin was the main beneficiary of Arsenals use of youth
Hector Bellerin was the main beneficiary of Arsenal’s use of youth
Rex Features

That tally is the highest in the top flight – ahead of fellow top six side Manchester United on 17.1 per cent.

The Gunners saw six players contribute to their 6,628-minute total, as Hector Bellerin led the way with 2,498 minutes by himself.

Elsewhere, Francis Coquelin, Alex Iwobi, Emiliano Martinez, Kieran Gibbs and Ainsley Maitland-Niles also chipped in.

As well as finishing second in the Press Association study, Jose Mourinho‘s United also led in another category: most home-grown players used in a single season.

The Old Trafford outfit used no fewer than TEN youngsters last term – with Angel Gomes even becoming the first ever player to be born in the 21st century to play in the Prem.

Despite his stint at Juventus, Paul Pogba was United’s biggest contributor, having originally risen through the ranks in Manchester, with 2,609 minutes.

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Alex Iwobi is another young Gunner handed minutes by Arsene Wenger
Alex Iwobi is another young Gunner handed minutes by Arsene Wenger
Getty Images
Arsenal topped the league in 2016-17 in handed academy products minutes
Arsenal topped the league in 2016-17 in handed academy products minutes
PA


Elsewhere, Bournemouth led the way in terms of the highest percentage of players hailing from graduates of UK clubs’ youth systems on 90.3 per cent.

Worryingly for them however, only 0.1 per cent of all their Premier League minutes under Eddie Howe came from players within their own academy.

Only Burnley and Swansea did worse, with no single player from their own youth system seeing the field of play in the Prem.

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Paul Pogba was Man Uniteds youth academy product to see the most minutes
Paul Pogba was Man United's youth academy product to see the most minutes
Rex Features
Based on all global clubs, Man United graduates saw easily the most minutes
Based on all global clubs, Man United graduates saw easily the most minutes
PA

Incredibly, money-laden Manchester City ranked bottom in terms of players developed in the UK, at a worryingly low 14 per cent.

Only Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Fabian Delph (Leeds), John Stones (Barnsley) and Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City) came from British academies.

In fact, the top six from the 2016-17 season all ranked in the bottom eight in terms of minutes played by UK-developed stars.


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