Michael Johnson
Arsenal have hired former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson to aid in the development of youth team players at the clubGetty

Arsenal have taken a major step forward in developing their youth team players after the club hired the expertise of four-time Olympic gold medal winner Michael Johnson.

According to the report, the Gunners have hired the American sprinter to improve the strength and speed of the players in the club's youth teams to better equip them to handle the pressures of playing first-team football.

Johnson, who won gold medals over the span of three Olympic games, and also has eight World Championship gold medals to his name, is confident that he can be of assistance at Arsenal's London Colney training ground.

The 47-year-old speed merchant has revealed that he will only be working with the youth team players, and will focus on their development from the age of eight until their full development at the age of 17 or 18.

Johnson feels English athletes are up there with the best when it comes to strength, but believes that they still lag behind their American counterparts when it comes to speed and power, and that is what he plans to improve with his expertise.

"It's about developing athletes. How do you bring an athlete from seven or eight years old all the way through to their full development as a 17 or 18 year-old," Johnson said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"We don't work with the first-team players. We specialise in youth athletics development and are seen as the experts in that."

"Once you get into athletic development, you start to look at speed, strength, power, agility, suppleness – all of those different things – and pick the ones that they really are interested in," the American sprinter explained.

"Strength has always been a big one in the UK. In that aspect I would say that the UK is right up there with everyone else."

"The UK has some cutting-edge stuff in terms of strength programmes but I'd say they lag behind the States in terms of speed and power."

"Everybody is trying to get as much as they can out of their athletes, tying to find out where you can find that expertise and new training methodology that's going to help us more effectively bring athletes through," Johnson added.