Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Few players have what it takes to make the grade at Arsenal; Henri Lansbury is not of those. Talent alone is not enough to succeed at Arsenal, as JET will unhappily testify. It requires the right attitude as well, a delicate combination of passion, determination, self-belief and patience.
The news that Henri Lansbury has signed a new contract strengthens my belief that he possesses all these qualities. Wenger is also convinced Henri has the mental attributes to succeed at Arsenal, even declaring a few years ago that Lansbury will be a ‘big player’ for us. Without a doubt Henri  has the talent, he was one of the most highly regarded players in our youth set up when he was younger, often training with the first team when he was 15, before glandular fever and a succession of injuries curtailed his development.
He has persevered and spent the last two seasons in the Championship, maturing as a player and culminating in his promotion with Norwich last season. Why has he not gone back there this season? He has improved tremendously and is surely ready for the step up. Both Lansbury and Cleverly were together at Watford two years ago and impressed, Cleverly slightly more but then he is a couple years older. What really helped his rise into the Man U first team though was his loan spell last year at Wigan, which proved he could cut it in the Premiership.
Lansbury must still prove himself in such an unforgiving environment. This means he will most likely spend at least a portion of next year on loan again at another Premiership club. Does he have the patience to wait so long for his breakthrough or will he get itchy feet like Bentley? It would be nice to think that Bentley might have a little word in his ear and tell him to be patient but in all likelihood the poor man’s David Beckham probably still thinks he made the right decision.
Henri has a bit of everything in his locker and what he might lack in ability, he more than makes up for in effort. Although I can see Lansbury being a useful squad player this season that is probably not best for his personal development and I see the benefit of sending him out on loan again.
Lansbury is at the stage of his career when he needs to play games, he needs match experience. He is ready to play week in week out as proved by his exploits in the last 2 weeks, as Henri has bagged 4 goals and 2 man of the match awards in 3 games for England’s U-21’s and West Ham. I expect him to play a crucial role in West Ham’s promotion charge this season. He scored 4 goals in 23 games last season for Norwich, often coming on as a sub. This season I expect him to start more games and get closer to 10 goals, beginning tomorrow against Millwall.
Fergie was brave enough to give Cleverly a chance in the first team this season. Lansbury deserves his chance too, especially if the crab like Denilson (only passes sideways) can be given over 150 chances to prove himself. Hopefully it will help that he has a French name! However if Henri does not break into the team instantly he must be patient. As those brilliant Guiness adverts from the 90’s said, ‘Good things come to those who wait’. Henri would be wise to pay attention.

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