Arsene Wenger has often used the domestic cup competitions to give some up and coming young players their first taste of Arsenal first team action, but the Frenchman has generally done this in the early rounds so an FA cup quarter final against a Premier League team like Watford would not normally see a young Gunner make their debut.
But I would not be surprised to see the 18-year old academy player Chris Willock make his bow against the Hornets tomorrow, although not from the start and depending on how the match pans out of course. But after the manager spoke very highly of the promising player in the matchday programme for this weekend, reported on the Arsenal website, I get the feeling he is preparing to play Willock if the chance presents itself.
Wenger said, “Chris is a very gifted player with natural strength and natural talent. He has what you do not find very easily.
“He can have a go at people, can get past people in one on ones. We forget sometimes that the basis of team sport is to first be strong one against one and Chris has that quality.
“I believe that he has the needed character when he has his back to the wall to always respond in a very strong way. That’s a very important quality, to be able to play under pressure.
“Overall I would be very comfortable to play him now but of course there is a lot of competition for places because there are players like Walcott, Alexis and Welbeck in front of him at the moment.
“If I had to play him then I would have no fear in doing so. Next season I think he will be a player who will get to feature in the team.”
The Frenchman has already included the talented youngster in two of the previous FA cup squads this year and he impressed on the pre-season tour as well as in the under 21 league and the UEFA Youth League this year, so is it time to see what he can do in a really big game?
—————–A LITTLE BONUS!——————
If anyone fancies a bit of Schadenfreude..
Here are the highlights of Lukaku destroying Chelsea and Diego Costa getting a red card….
Bye Bye Chelsea…..