Arsenal's Under-19 side may well have lost at the semi-final stage of the NextGen series but Arsene Wenger believes their success in the competition proved that a number of players are ready to make the jump to the first team next season.

The Gunners travelled to Italy for their semi-final against London rivals Chelsea and were eventually edged in a seven goal thriller, that saw Terry Burton's side recover from 3-1 down to force extra-time.

Nico Yennaris
Nico Yennaris captained the Under-19 side to the semi-finals. [NextGen]

An early goal from 17-year-old striker Chuba Akpom had handed Arsenal the lead but they fell behind thanks to goals from Islam Feruz, Lewis Baker and Jeremie Boga. With just minutes remaining Akpom would strike again before Serge Gnabry grabbed an equaliser in the dying seconds.

Despite eventually falling to another Baker goal, Arsenal showed great character and Wenger believes the experience has helped a number of players prove that they are ready for first team action.

"We've always found the resources to do something special and that's what I like in this team. They don't give up, they keep going and above all there are two, three or four players who I think have a chance to play for Arsenal. That is most important," explained Wenger.

With three English sides making the last four of the NextGen series it seems the future is bright at Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa. This is in contradiction to how the senior sides performed in the Champions League with no Premier League side qualifying for the quarter-finals.

"In the NextGen team we have good players, the future looks quite bright for us," added the French boss.

With so much focus on buying established stars and spending big money, Wenger made it clear that promoting from the academy is still vitally important.

"What is important is to trust young players to do it in the future because everybody just wants to bring in names. That's where we have to be strong enough to do the right thing," said Wenger.

Arsenal lost 3-1 Sporting Lisbon in the third/fourth play-off but there was still high praise for the two central defenders from youth team manager Terry Burton who picked out the duo as the outstanding players for the Gunners across the tournament.

Burton told "The two centre backs, Sead Hajrovic and Isaac Hayden, have been very solid for us over the course of the tournament, let alone these two games. They have really shown some good qualities."

With Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld already tasting first team football this season, it seems there will be further opportunities for a number of the NextGen side.