Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Early indications suggest Zelalem can live up to the hype

There was a point early this week when it seemed as if Gedion Zelalem was the player to have received the most column inches without having been witnessed in action.

The promising young midfielder, who was spotted by former Arsenal player turned scout Danny Karbassiyoon whilst playing in America, was labelled in some quarters as the “new Cesc Fabregas” before he had even played an official game for the club. It seemed as if everybody with an interest in Arsenal’s youngsters was waiting for Monday night, when Zelalem finally made his debut for the U21s against Liverpool, to see whether this much-vaunted schoolboy was able to live up to the considerable attention that he had received in recent weeks.

Zelalem certainly didn’t disappoint. Despite the Gunners suffering a 3-2 defeat in an enthralling encounter which renders very difficult their chances of progressing to the end of season play-offs, Zelalem was an extremely calm presence on the ball throughout, frequently dictating play from his role as Arsenal’s most advanced midfielder. An extremely skilful player, one through ball he played to fellow German youth international Serge Gnabry was particularly notable in portraying his vision and commendable ability to wriggle his way out of the most difficult situations.

It wasn’t all perfect- with Zelalem evidently tiring late on (understandably so given his lack of game-time in recent weeks) and also hitting a few mis-placed passes, but the early evidence was extremely encouraging for the future, and the fact that he was selected from the start for the U21s, having not yet featured at U18 level, speaks volumes of how highly he is regarded within the club, as does the fact that he has trained with the first-team on several occasions this season, increasingly so in recent weeks.

Zelalem’s debut wasn’t as eye-catching as Jack Wilshere’s second-string bow five years ago, when the Hale End product struck a memorable goal away to Reading, but he demonstrated that, if he develops physically, which he surely will over the coming years, then he will have all he needs to carve out an impressive career in the upper echelons of the game.

It is always important to be wary with young players, particularly given that the likes of Fran Merida and Nacer Barazite, not to mention Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, shone at reserve and youth level only to fail to make the grade at Emirates Stadium, but the suggestions are that Zelalem will not remain in the U21s for very long and could be part of the first-team squad much sooner than many may have initially anticipated.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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It’s good to see the him Gedion well at Arsenal.

….why yes, that is my coat.

*door slams*

petits handbag

Don’t put yourself down Jamie, good effort….is your second name literally Redknapp though?


my eritrean/ethiopian brother do us proud


I swear every week I learn of a new arsenal youngster who meant to be the next thing

Boris Cro

ahahahaha epic “get my coat” fail jamie

Chris Mac

I actively went back and “liked” his comment after this unnecessary aggression. You are worse than North Korea.

Enrique Vasquez

Then in the name of such a logic, and in the light of such hostility, now I support North Korea.


He looks like he’s 12.


Typical dutch comment.
Point out the obvious, especially if its rude.


You can imagine the headlines in a few years….Armagedion!!!!!

damien joyce

If Armageddon hasn’t already been and gone by then!!!!

Omasi WC

Wélcome Boy Zalalem.


Giddy Up!


I am not one to hype up players but he does remind me of Cesc a lot. His calmness and composure on the ball is like Cesc at that age, he has good awareness of his surroundings and has decent passing ability already. I really do hope the likes of Gnarby, Akpom and Zelalem get a chance to integrate with the first team next season.


Show the world that Ethiopian’s can play football not only running!!



His passing and turning is fantastic. Fantastic ball control and good agility to add. I’m very eager to see him develop further over the coming few years.


A schollboy with composure and good ability at the highest youth level? Like Fabregas?


I look forward to seeing him play, I’m quite gutted I missed the Anfield game for the U21’s.


Question: where can i see the u21 matches? I live far away from London, so need to be some stream or something..


hope to see him replacing arteta in the future.


Surely he’ll never be as good as Aliadiere/Bentley/Vela/the next “wonder kid” …and whatever happened to Freddy Adu?


Freddy Adu was traded to Bahia in Brazil for Kleberson by the Philadelphia Union. 9 clubs in 9 years.


I like your username, I’m from NJ too


Adu was actually about 25 when he shone at youth level. He moved to the US as a kid without a birth certificate!

That’s why he didn’t get any better..

A Yank

Jeremie Aliadiere has actually turned in a nice season for Lorient (this he’s got 12 goals and 10 assists). Granted he’s no superstar, but he seems to have found a good situation for himself and it playing pretty well.


Obviously needs to bulk up first hopefully it comes as he matures. The premier league doesn’t do lightweight nowadays atleast not with the increased shawcross’ and huths’.

Dont zel him though Gazidis.

Elias gooner

We ethiopian arsenal funs proud of u

[…] 来源:[Arseblog News] […]


I may get thumbed down for this, but I’m not sure these articles are helpful at all. We’ve been burned repeatedly with these youths, as expectations have been placed on them, as well as media attention and undue pressure. This kid is so young – he even looks it! Lets give him the time and freedom to develop, and if he eventually makes it for us we’ll celebrate him. If not, then lets hope he can carve a career elsewhere. The point is, undue focus on the extreme youth is not really helpful for anyone.


there are millions of people who loves and support Arsenal here in Ethiopia. it means a world to us if he makes it up to the highest level.


Why is he being thought of as a German international? Surely the US has had some contact with the player. Would be an excellent steal if we pull it off.

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