Their have been massive changes in Arsenal’s coaching set up especially in the reserve and youth set up since Per Mertesacker was announced as the new Academy manager, and now the big German has revealed that the Gunners’ reserves will be playing in the Checkatrade trophy for the very first time next season, along with the U21 sides from our great rivals Tottenham, Chelsea, Man City and West Ham.
We all know that our reserves are used to playing in empty stadiums, but this trophy is very important to lots of the lower League sides with the chance of reaching a final at Wembley, and there will be big crowds the further the competition progresses. For instance Chelsea U21’s played in front of 9400 when they got beaten on penalties by the eventual winners Lincoln City.
Our new Academy manager is aware of this and is looking forward to it. Mertesacker said: “We’re pleased to be entering our Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy this forthcoming season.
“We feel it’s important to provide our young players with a variety of experiences in their development and we certainly felt that by entering the Checkatrade Trophy, the players will face different challenges from strong club sides.
“With many of the players in this age group destined to go on loan soon in their careers, the experiences from this competition can act as a very good link between academy and first team football.”
It will be good for the young players and also good for the young fans who will be able to see our up-and-coming starlets a lot more often and in more exciting circumstances…
This is the full list of invited reserve sides who will play against the League One and League Two sides….
Arsenal; Newcastle; Brighton; Southampton; Chelsea; Stoke; Everton; Swansea; Fulham; Tottenham; Leicester City; Wolves; Manchester City; West Ham; Middlesbrough; West Brom