Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal’s current crop of youngsters are not at the level required to make an impression at first team level.

The Gunners’ boss admitted earlier this week that he was managing a paper thin squad as a consequence of their inability to sign reinforcements in the January window.

Arteta’s resources have been further limited due to the setback suffered by Thomas Partey, who had only just returned to full training following a lengthy absence.

Critics, however, have pointed to Arteta’s unwillingness to tap into the club’s academy which has yielded talents such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe in recent years.

Arteta has called up the likes of Lino Sousa and Ruell Walters to the first team squad recently, while last season Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history.

By and large, however, Arteta has stuck by a core group of senior players during the last 18 months, in contrast to the likes of Jurgen Klopp who, in particular, has promoted the likes of Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley.

‘We certainly want to do that,’ said Arteta ahead of Sunday’s game against Liverpool when asked if he wanted to see more of Arsenal’s youngsters thrive in the Premier League.

‘First of all we need to produce those talents and they have to earn it and secondly they have to be in the positions that we need fulfilling.

‘Everything has to come together and we are working on that. We have a few prospects which are not far away, but the reality is we want more.

‘Today, to give the opportunities to play in the first team at the level required, we are a bit short.’

Sousa appears to be one of those surplus to requirements with an impending move to Aston Villa confirmed earlier this week.

‘It was a club decision and obviously he had a really particular situation with his contract,’ said Arteta, explaining the reason behind the teenage defender’s release.

‘There’s been a lot of talk about it and the club believe it was the best decision to do that and I supported that decision.’