The kids cannot get in
Arsenal academy players having a hard time breaking into the team by Vuyo Mataka
Hale End has had a number of talents through their doors. Players that have become club legends, premier league level talents and stars outside of England. It’s difficult to predict who is capable to becoming a first team player from a fans point of view, YouTube highlights can be misleading. However, there is a gut feeling in us at times that can tell that the player in front of our eyes is a star. There’s a crop of players coming out of the academy now looking like future stars but, somehow they cannot find a way into the team. You have to wonder why they are finding it so difficult?
The current breakout academy players that come to mind are, Ethan Nwaneri, Reuell Walters, Amario Cozier-Duberry and Charles Sagoe Jr. All of them being regulars at the first team training, making plenty of appearances on the bench, however they never come off the bench. The only player to register minutes is Sagoe Jr against West Ham in the EFL Cup. It’s looking less likely for them to get minutes this season with there being so much competition in every position.
Ethan, the most promising out of them all, doing well in the premier league 2 with four goals and two assists in five games. He is a player that is a natural in the final third. Playing as an attacking midfielder or as a winger, he could be an understudy to our Starboy. The same goes for Sagoe Jr, earning his start against West Ham due to his effort at practice. He is also having a good run in the Premier League 2 with a goal and six assists in eight games. Amario is putting up similar numbers as his counterparts with five goals and two assists in eight games. All of these attackers being breakout talents looking to move up to the next level.
Walters is a solid defender in the Premier League 2 playing every minute and being a regular in first team training. Him being more suited to the right back position due to there being less competition. There are other players that could breakthrough, Lino Sousa and Miles Lewis-Skelly look ready for the next level as well.
There is no rush for the players to move up a level but you don’t want to see them stay too long at academy level. These players should start looking at getting minutes at a senior level. They should start looking at new challenges, able to play at a higher level. They need opportunities to prove they are up for it.
January could be an opportunity for them to gain experience elsewhere. You can never know if they are ready for first team football if they never have the chance to play. This is a big season for the club, there’s no chances now. Next season might be an opportunity for them but this season, let them learn elsewhere.
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