Sunday, December 4, 2022

Reine-Adelaide earns first-team promotion with Willock next in line

One young Arsenal prospect was elevated to the senior set-up this week, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide being promoted to Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad.

It is tempting, however, to suggest that another talent, Chris Willock, who is also capable of operating as an attacking midfielder or out wide, was more worthy of making the step up to the senior side.

Reine-Adelaide caught the eye with his excellent technique at the Emirates Cup last year, but throughout the course of the season it was Willock who was the more consistent performer.

Indeed, it is tempting to say that Arsenal U21s may not have achieved promotion to the top tier were it not for the interventions of Willock, who frequently drove the team forwards and got into good attacking positions.

There is much to like about Reine-Adelaide’s game, with the 18-year-old possessing a languid style, while he is capable of beating players with ease. However, he can be rather careless in possession at times and has a tendency to overcomplicate play, which, at the highest level, may well be punished.

Willock, meanwhile, has continued to showcase his credentials during pre-season, with the youngster delivering impressive cameo appearances against Lens and the MLS All-Stars. The Hale End graduate is excellent at controlling the ball and is capable of weaving his way past opponents with ease.

It is difficult to envisage Willock getting many opportunities to impress in the first-team this season outside the domestic cup competitions, with Wenger able to call upon several wide options.

However, the England youth international remains very highly thought of within the club and should receive his chance in due course.

As far as Reine-Adelaide is concerned, as an official first-team squad member, his chances of commanding game time are slightly higher, and the former Lens player will be looking to make a major impact this season.

Willock, though, could well be next off the production line after that.


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


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Good luck to both of them.

If only we address the short-coming of the first team in the market sufficiently to help us compete at the highest level for the next couple of years, then with such talent stocked up we would be a force both in the domestic and Champions league. Then players like Sanchez and Ozil wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.

We wait with bated breath for the offensive and defensive signing this window.

Little Mozart

Willock has been catching my eye during the friendly matches, and The Jeff obviously has plenty of potential, but I find myself more interested in Akpom. It’s a real boost to have such young talent at the club.


The Jeff


The production line is in full force. In a year or two, we will start to see the whole revamp of arsenals youth work undertaken since the new changes were brought in. Those youngsters are very technically strong quite a lot of talent from goalkeeper to striker.

Goondalf de Gea

Agreed Jeorge. Willock is so adept at beating people that he really opens things up. At the u-21 games I attended last year he was always the primary threat and the go to option whenever we got the ball. We don’t have many wide players that like to beat the full back on the outside so I think he’d be a great option for the first team




like a poop signing

jay allenby

They need to promote him since Walcott, Ox and Campbell looked terrible in the all star game.


I agree Walcott was poor, again. He butchered several chances.
But Ox was quality. Campbell very busy – won and converted a penalty. Cannot see how you can be disappointed with either of those two IMO.
Good to see quality youngsters too.


I think you might need glasses my friend!

Patrick Ssekatawa

You seem to disagree with Wenger’s decision to promote Reine-Adelaide instead of Chris Willock. You may be right, but the coaches must have considered much more than you can see being that they spend almost all the time with those players.
Chris, for me is a bit of a light frame so he perhaps needs to bulk up a little to complement hiss dazzling skill with the kind of physicality required at the top.

Jeff, though, combines both, so he is more prepared than Chris


Totally agreed with you here. One simple reason Jeff is ahead of Willock is physicality related issue. Willock looks so lightweight and weak to be honest. He needs to bulk up big time


Tbf Jeff looks not much physically stronger himself.

Oooh aaah Ray Parlour!

Lovely to see the two of them and Akpom so close to the squad now. After Iwobi’s breakthrough during the ‘business end’ of last year it’s given me more optimism that chances will come their way. I’d be very keen for Mahrez to join, but much happier for these boys to breakthrough. It will require patience though and we have used a lot of that up lately. Fingers crossed it works out, with all our constant injury issues, I feel we deserve a bit of luck on this front.


As article said I agree willinock play more for team very disciplinary.
Not subject to loss ball very often.he is physically as well and talent player.
While Jeff is more talent but he still not find a right tune ,he need more match to be mature

Stu Harris

It’s a good job we have such promising young talent coming through, what with the club’s failures within the transfer market. But again, things look good for later, when what we really desire are results now.


I think we should allow the young players to overcomplicate things a little and experiment. How will we ever produce someone like Messi or Suarez otherwise? Won’t all our players be of the same quality and style, if we don’t let the players experiment a bit on the pitch? At least the cup matches?


I made this case before funnily enough we talking about Wellington Silva and his lack of chances whilst others clearly get it handed to them. I pointed out that as impressive as Jeff was (and for most, their knowledge of him does not go beyond last year’s preseason), his promotion almost seemed like no matter what kind of season he had, he already seemed earmarked for first team chances no matter what. Which is somewhat great as he’s very talented, but add to that feeling of favouritism at Arsenal, because it seems some plays are just given opportunities whilst others… Read more »


Seem fair.


I thought Jon Toral was ahead of all the others on merit, and I was really disappointed when he was overlooked this season as I don’t know what else he was supposed to do to impress, to be honest. There certainly appears to be favouritism, but I do wonder if we make promises to young players in order to sign them. We hear that Hector Bellerin was told that if he came to Arsenal he would play for the first team within a certain time frame, I wonder if that’s true. The injury situation helped him and he certainly took… Read more »


There isn’t a more fair person than Arsene Wenger in my opinion. Part and parcel of the job is proving yourself to your manager to earn you a place in the squad, and in this case a promotion. Wellington Silva is a different case because they weren’t able to get him a work permit so while The Jeff was able to learn at the age of 17, Wellington was being tossed around different mediocre clubs in Europe. Regarding Willock, he does seem physically behind, and when we already have Walcott, OX, Iwobi, and Campbell that need to prove a point… Read more »

Granit(e) hard!

I agree totally. but Jeff is …..the Jeff!!! I must admit i didn’t know much about Chris, apart from what i read from your reports over the seasons about what an excellent prospect he is, whereas the Jeff is, well…..the Jeff!…..we all know about him, his talent deserves it, and the arsenal fan base all over the world, who seem to have adopted him demands it! fact we have all been waiting and will not settle for less!. Seriously, what i saw of chris in the pre- seasons so far have been very impressive….very pacy,good technical skills, trickery (which fans… Read more »


I see your point. Most of the youth players are ready to step up, but problem is the media and fans can destroy their confidence before they even play. Fans do have their favourite players they want to see progress, but i suppose the management take alot of factors into consideration before giving a player that step up. So far, wenger and his management havent been wrong about letting go off a player (unlike united in the case of Pogba, Gerard Pique etc.).


Wenger treat these kids with love and respect, letting go off them if the club cannot provide them a starting place, not because he doesnt believe they are not good enough, but wanting them to do well. Some players can make the step up with the support of fans. Over the years, we have seen the club promote players in critical areas of the field. Fabregas for Central midfield Hector B for Right Back Le Coq for Defensive Mid Henry for striker Its my believe that wenger doesnt just want to built a team for now, but for the future.… Read more »

Rozza the samourai

Henry was a world cup winner and top scorer for France at WC before he came to Arsenal. Not promoted from academy. Fabregas and Bellerin got their initial academy training at Barcelona. Our academy hasn’t been too successful in the last 10 years. We can feel, this is changing.


If you’re applying that logic maybe we should sign Eder, he’s a Euros winner. Not a BPL flop with a shambolic goal scoring record.

Henry was a Juve flop and a youngster that barely got any game time during that World Cup winning campaign (not to mention he was a winger). Anelka was the main French striker at the time. Wenger made him what he is today. Anyone who argues that should go back and get their facts right.

And regarding the foreign players, not our fault UK doesn’t allow players to move under the age of 16.

Hleb's dancing feet

Which other top 4 teams are producing any starting 11 players from their academy that have the same sort of influence Bellerin, Coquelin, and Sczesny (at some Point) have? Gibbs also rose from the ranks even though he seems to have fallen down the pecking order. Iwobi is a recent product as well. So what is your point again?

richard of York

isn’t chris willock a Sydney Govou’s reincarnate? they look very similar. we should stick him upfront in 2016/17

Rozza the samourai

Hope he gets a better career than Govou.


I think willock may be being held back a year so he can bulk up a bit. He looks fantastic but a bit on the light side. Bit like what was said about zelalem cpl years back really.

Speaking of him, is it just me or did he look a big more stocky against mls all stars compared to last preseason.

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