With the Capital One Cup upon us, Arsenal fans are hoping to see some of the next generation in action against Coventry tonight.
The competition that has provided the starting point for the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott in the past allows Gooners to get glimpses of players they normally wouldn’t see in first team action.
One youngster, in particular, looks to be very much in the manager’s thoughts and that’s Serge Gnabry. The young German is very highly thought of by the Arsenal coaching staff and Arsene Wenger says his potential is such that he could make a first team impact this season.
“Serge Gnabry is a great hope for the future, I rate him highly,” he said in his pre-game interview with Arsenal Player. “If he continues his development, I think he could play in the first team this season. At the moment he needs to work and ensure he remains fit.
“He is in the category of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott – guys who have great power, great pace and good dribbling skills. He has goalscoring potential and good vision as well for the final ball. He can play centrally behind the striker or on the flanks.”
The comparisons with Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who were fast-tracked into the first team squad at an early age, are very interesting, suggesting that Wenger is looking at using Gnabry in a similar way. A good performance tonight would cement the boss’s thought process.
He also spoke about some of the other youngsters who could be involved, citing Kriss Olsson, young Spaniard Hector Bellerin amd even the not that young any more Craig Eastmond. There was susprisingly no mention of Gnabry’s compatriot, Thomas Eisfeld, but he could be on the bench tonight too.