Wenger: Shorter players now valuable

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that shorter players are in demand because of their greater technical ability.

Carzola's quick feet...

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

The Premier League has seen a recent influx of players short in stature but extremely gifted in the technical aspect of the game like Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and David Silva - an anomaly considering the league's reputation as the most physically demanding in the world.

Wenger believes that the influx of such talent can be put down to the evolution of the game, where space is a premium and the ability to unlock defences is more valued.

"I believe it's because the density of players you have to fight against in the final third is always getting bigger, so the quality of the pass and the technique in that area has become much more important," he told the Official Arsenal Magazine.

"There is less space available, so accuracy is key. Secondly, because there is a smaller space the shorter players, the very agile players, are becoming more important and the taller players in midfield less so. That could be an explanation.

"It's changed in the last four or five years - the distances absorbed by players are becoming bigger and bigger, and therefore the limited space on the pitch demands more technical ability."

The Frenchman also pointed out at the different breed of defensive midfielders, who take up roles as creators, rather than destroyers, for the team.

"Yes, but you can now say that this player has had to become more technical - you saw it during Euro 2012, with guys like Andrea Pirlo playing in this position," he said.

"They are not destroyers anymore, they are players that the game starts from and the quality of their passing has become very important. That's why you don't really see purely destructive players in these positions anymore."

Arsenal's very own Cazorla has made an excellent start to life in the Premier League since joining the club in August, providing two goals and three assists in seven league games so far this season.



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