Arthur Okonkwo was missing as Arsenal’s Under23 played out a 1-1 draw against Tottenham yesterday.
All Nigerian Soccer has now reported that the goalie missed the game because it clashed with Arsenal’s first-team training and he was asked to join the latter.
The 19-year-old is currently the fourth choice goalie at the club and arguably the best in their academy.
He missed the whole of last season with an injury that hampered his progress, but he has returned to form for the Gunners’ youth teams in this campaign.
The report says he is behind Bernd Leno, Mathew Ryan and Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson in the pecking order and they value him at the club.
The Gunners will face Manchester United in the Premier League next, and they needed an extra goalie in training, a role that he helped to cover.
Okonkwo has played 17 games for the Arsenal Under23 and Under18 teams combined, and he has kept an impressive 9 clean sheets.
With Alex Rúnarsson struggling to remain in the Arsenal first-team picture, he will feel he can move up to become the third choice at the Emirates with more hard work.
His invitation to the squad shows yet again how much Mikel Arteta trusts in the club’s academy products.