Arsenal assistant manager Steve Bould has reiterated Arsene Wenger's stance that a number of academy players are on the verge of breaking into the first team.

Having watched Arsenal's Under-19 side finish fourth in the NextGen series, Wenger suggested that "two, three or four players have a chance to play for Arsenal", and Bould has a similarly optimistic view.

Nico Yennaris
Arsenal's NextGen captain Nico Yennaris has already had a taste of first team football.

"That's what it's about. The difference between [the first team] is winning and in the youth teams, it's about developing players for first-team football to win games," Bould told

"Winning helps and is part of the job but lower down, you need to produce players who can play in our first team. Looking at that NextGen group, there may be four or five players knocking on the door in the near future."

Bould previously worked as the Under-18's coach and has an acute understanding of the talent that is emerging from the Arsenal academy. Youngsters Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eisfeld have both played in the first team this year after excelling in various youth competitions, and it seems there could be others handed the chance next season.

Wenger has previously spoken in glowing terms about 17-year-old striker Chuba Akpom, while NextGen coach Terry Burton was full of praise for the performances of central defensive pair Sead Hajrovic and Isaac Hayden.

Former Barcelona right-back Hactor Bellerin has been another standout player in Arsenal's youth team this season and it seems that the Gunners have a wealth of talent currently progressing through the ranks.

Despite losing to Chelsea in the semi-finals of the European competition, Bould believes Arsenal can be very proud of their achievements as their west London rivals had invested heavily in their youth set-up.

"They were unlucky," added Bould. "We watched the game against Chelsea live in the office and it was very tight. Chelsea have spent an awful lot of money on that team so for us to compete at that level with them was a magnificent job.

"I think in the third-place play-off game [against Sporting Lisbon], we tired a little bit. Perhaps the mental side of getting beaten by Chelsea affected the lads but in the end it's about having good players and I think there's another crop of good players coming through at the Club."