Youngster gets African Cup of Nations call-up

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Young midfielder Ismael Bennacer has been handed a surprise call up to the African Cup of Nations by Algeria.

The 19 year old, who joined the Gunners in 2015 from French side Arles, has played 12 games for the U23s this season, and was brought into his national squad because of an injury suffered by Saphir Taider.

Bennacer, a highly-rated creative midfielder, has made just one appearance for Arsenal, in the ill-fated Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last season.

Good luck to him in Gabon, where fellow Gunner Mohamed Elneny is representing Egypt in the tournament.

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Trez

Good for me. I like Bennacer. I hope he makes it here.

shokim

Good luck to the young lad. The international experience will do him good.

Mr November

He’s a tidy player. Can put his foot in and a good range of passing. Check out the assist he got for Nketiah’s goal against Derby the other day. Definitely one to watch. Let’s hope he impresses in training and gets some minutes on the pitch. Good luck Ismael.

Clock-End Mike

He’s played once (I think, only) for the first team, coming on as substitute and playing 70′ in the Capital One Cup last season against Sheffield Wednesday. Didn’t disgrace himself either (though the team were largely toothless after injuries to the Ox and then Walcott, whom he replaced).

Good luck to him.

John C

Another braindead youngster who’s decided to compromise their Arsenal/club career but choosing to represent an african nation when he was born in europe. Seriously what kind of advice do these kids get? How many players do they think our first team squad can handle that might disappear for a month or so every other January? Elneny (who we knew was african when we signed him and was at least was born in africa) has left us just when we need him and we now have only 2 fit central midfielders. If we drop points because we lose another midfielder it’s… Read more »

David C

bit harsh mate.

He might not be good enough for the European team so if he can make an international team then good for him.

In Canada, we have the complete opposite problem. Our players (if good enough) choose to play for European teams even though they grew up in Canada. (Think Owen Hargraves).

John C

The kid’s 19!! Why is he making the decision now?

John C

Yes he is, Iwobi wasn’t so Nigerian not to play for England nor Bennacer so Algerian to play for France so neither is so principled to have turned down those opportunities. Iwobi at least was born in Nigeria. Neither of those players represent African football production as they’re both the product of european football academies, all they’re doing is taking away the chances of a local african footballer to showcase their talents for their countries on the international stage. They’ve had all the advantages of training and being coached at Arsenal through their childhoods and now, on a whim, and… Read more »

Lord Bendnter

And what is it to you?

Are you stating that someone grown up in European clubs would cause harm in Africa? I think you need to respect competition and what it does in the long run for improving players and their performances. So hats off to this young lad going to represent the country of his heritage in one of the biggest tournaments out there.

Anup

what if the shoe was on the other foot?

If you were born in Taiwan, and your family lived there for 19 odd years, would you choose To play for their national football team, or England?

podb

no, but the English FA is for letting him slip through their fat fingers. He could have led England to World Cup glory/disgrace. Good on him for going to Nigeria tho and doing a rainbow flick to the FA.

John C

I’m very interested to know if you could tell me how a kid born in France and who’s footballing education came from France and England represents African football and in what way it advances it?

Heavenly Chapecoense

In France, you do not get the citizenship because you were born there. You have to wait the age of 18. Nice way of teaching someone, he is French or European.

Aubrey Graham

Imagine your born in Spain to english parents and at home all you speak is english your family is english you will identify with being english more then being spanish so will probs end up wanting to play for England

John C

You don’t know where i’m from, so keep your little-englander comments to yourself. Both of them have made it up as they go along, and where happy to represent the countries they grew up in when it suited them but even so the timing of the ACN is so stupid it puts a barrier in front of their careers before it even starts. Elneny has hardly played this season and i think it’s down to Wenger knowing he’d be away in January. Iwobi has been fortunate that Nigeria didn’t qualify otherwise i’m positive he wouldn’t have played so much as… Read more »

Vehcede

I’d like to know what strain of racial discrimination weed you’re taking man, that shit needs to be banned asap

Papas

If there is a brain-dead moron here it’s not Ismael, mate…you get me?

George

The real issue lies in having an African competition in January every two years. Once every four years would be much more palatable.

Goonersmurf

To understand that is to understand the reasons why the ACN is scheduled the way it is.

It is a much a developmental tool as is political. African countries need yeh tournament to advance economic advancements.

Conrado

John C, seriously embarrassed you are an arsenal fan

What do you know about having a double nationality? How it feels? You can love and be proud of several countries or cultures. Of course he should play for who ever country he wants. Whenever he wants.

Go for a long walk in the park and think about it. The world is big place, be part of it.

Xxxrob

I think his point was lost in his poor choice of wording. The point I’m referring to was something along the lines of it is wrong if kids who have left Africa (or wherever) and received European (or wherever) training and coaching decide they want to represent a nation because it might deny a locally trained kid the opportunity to showcase themselves on the international stage. At least I think that’s what he said, if he didn’t then I agree with myself lol What I find even more ridiculous is when you see nationalised players. Something about seeing an “Alex”… Read more »

Goonersmurf

Ok you my man are a dick.

Riku

Harsh

With more World Cup places(admittedly in future ) places for Africa and Asia and West Indies teams in future more players will not pick England . Look at iwobi.
Jenkinson could have 40 caps for Finland by now in a similar situation.

Va va voom

Diego Costa playing for Spain is okay I guess

John D

Diego Costa is not okay.

He is a dickhead.

Who will likely win golden boot in a league winning side whom i would love to see in arsenal colours.