Pablo Mari made his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt when he turned out for the under 23s in their game against Chelsea.
The new Arsenal signing is expected to become a key member of Mikel Arteta’s team in the coming months, but he was asked to get some minutes with the club’s reserves first.
He started the game in central defence alongside Rob Holding who is just returning from injury and hoping to win a starting XI shirt back too.
Mari played the first 45 minutes of the encounter and impressed U23 manager Steve Bould with his showing.
Arsenal lost the game 2-1, but Bould was full of praise for the first team players who helped his side and claimed that the experience is a worthwhile one for the youngsters who are also hoping to win a first team call-up.
“It’s fabulous for the young players to play alongside them,” said Bould as quoted by Goal.com. “It’s a learning programme and we don’t very often get older boys and men playing with us, and that’s how I learned my game when I was a kid so it’s something we miss out on lots of times.
“It was actually a very good game for them to come in to. I think Chelsea’s striker is a good player and they have good players all over the park so it was a good test for them and a good 45 minutes. I’m sure they will go on and use that for first-team value.
“I thought the performance was really really good, especially in the second half. I think they edged the first half they had a bit more of the ball and we struggled a little bit to retain it.
“In the second half, the boys have done everything that we’ve asked of them and I couldn’t ask of any more from them apart from scoring another goal.”
Mari will be hoping that he has shown Mikel Arteta enough to trust him with a start sooner rather than later.