Monday, June 17, 2024

Raage adds depth to U18 squad, whilst Mugabo makes senior international debut

Arsenal may not yet have announced any senior signings, but U18s coach Carl Laraman will have at least three new faces to call upon next season after it was revealed last week that the club have signed 16-year-old Swedish striker Jamaal Raage from IF Brommapojkarna.

Raage, a skilful if not entirely prolific striker who has been capped by Sweden at U15 level, was one of several players who trailled with the club last season and will provide a much-needed option up front for Laraman’s side next season. With Chuba Akpom now a mainstay of the U21 side and Austin Lipman hoping to step up to the second-string on a regular basis, Raage should receive more than his fair share of game time during his first season at the club and will hope to re-pay the faith shown in him by the club’s coaching staff.

The signing of Barcelona defender Julio Pleguezuelo Selva should also go through shortly, to add to the earlier acqusition of England U17 midfielder Dan Crowley. These signings dictate that Arsenal’s U18 side next season is likely to be a much-changed one, and, as the campaign progresses, a greater number of schoolboys could be called upon to feature at that level.

Some of those schoolboys were involved in the Lion City Cup in Singapore recently, and, although the Gunners did not return home with the trophy, the experience of playing abroad in front of a considerably large crowd will have been of great benefit to players such as Kaylen Hinds, a striker who was signed from Leyton Orient last year, and Chris Willock, a product of the club’s Hale End academy who has shone from an early age with his technical ability. Both players made their debuts for the U18s last season and could make further appearances this time around.

Another incident of note this week involved Alfred Mugabo, the club’s extremely versatile second-year scholar, who, at the age of just 17, made his international debut for the Rwanda senior team in their World Cup Qualfiying defeat to Algeria. Mugabo, who has been deployed at right-back, centre-back and in central-midfield in recent years, was alreadyconsidered one of his country’s brightest prospects having featured in the U17 World Cup at the age of 15, but he has now become Arsenal’s 29th current senior international.

There are just a few weeks to go now until the youngsters return to training ahead of the new campaign, with the fixtures for the U21 league expected to be announced shortly. Several members of the U21 squad will also be hopeful of joining the first-team on their pre-season tour of Asia, with the first week of pre-season likely to be key in that regard.

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

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Always a pleasureful reading. Hope they go on to have wonderful careers.

Arsenal Rising

I’m so excited to see Dan Crowley become the new Jack Wilshere! Crowley killed us last season with one of the best individual performances I’ve seen in awhile. Great signings!

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