Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Arsenal youngsters that could be involved in pre-season

Pre-season is rapidly approaching and, given that there isn’t a World Cup or European Championship this year, the majority of the Arsenal first-team squad will be able to play a full part in proceedings.

As ever, though, there will be some opportunities for talented youngsters to impress Arsene Wenger and perhaps earn a place in his plans for the upcoming campaign.

Whether Matt Macey, who will turn 23 in September, can still be classified as a youngster is open to debate but the goalkeeper has a good chance of being involved in the Gunners’ pre-season plans.

With uncertainty over the respective futures of Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina, there is a possibility that Macey could be Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper next season behind Petr Cech and Emiliano Martinez, and some good performances during pre-season would help his cause in terms of making that scenario a reality.

Regarding outfield players, Ainsley Maitland-Niles may return to London Colney a little later than some of the other youngsters following his exertions at the U20 World Cup, where he helped England to win the tournament.

However, the versatile prospect should be able to be heavily involved and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if he was to be officially promoted to the senior squad before the conclusion of pre-season.

Wenger has also mentioned Reiss Nelson as a candidate to step up to the first-team. Undoubtedly Arsenal’s standout youngster at present, the 17-year-old is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or a winger and possesses excellent close control. It would be especially intriguing to see how Nelson fares against the likes of Bayern Munich and Chelsea in pre-season if given the opportunity.

Other youngsters could also receive chances to catch the eye. With Gabriel injured and Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Krystian Bielik having all been involved in tournaments, at least one young centre-back is likely to be called upon, especially if the 3-4-2-1 formation is persisted with.

Ben Sheaf, who has already been on the bench for the first-team, is the prime candidate in that regard, with the 19-year-old having successfully undergone the transformation from being a defensive-midfielder into a composed centre-back.

Julio Pleguezuelo, who concluded the season strongly on loan at Mallorca, could also be involved.

There may not be many more opportunities for other youngsters, but the likes of Cohen Bramall, Donyell Malen, Eddie Nketiah, Josh Dasilva and Marcus McGuane will all be hoping to make an impact in training and subsequently be rewarded with a first-team call-up.

Jeorge Bird is the author of http://arsenalyouth.wordpress.com/, follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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What about Jeff Reine-Adelaide?


Wasn’t he promoted to the first team last year?


I’m hoping to see Jon Toral given a chance this year, surely he’s done enough to deserve it?

Oooh ahhh Ray Parlour

Europa league and league cup would be ideal for him and The Jeff

Mein Bergkampf

So I’m guessing we are losing our grip on Chris Willock? Such a shame, talented lad.

Q3 Technique

Is he well rounded enough? He’s ok at U23 level but I don’t think he’s sufficiently stepped up his all round game to succeed at higher levels. I think he’s suffered from not going out on loan.

No way

He’s got iwobi ahead of him, being a couple of years younger means there is no place for willock. He won’t play at city either but that’s his problem if wants to go there not ours.

Clive St Helmet

No mention of Toral, Akpom, Reine-Adelaide… Toral seems to be a victim of the heavy first team squad; if this were five seasons ago he’d be in and playing. It’s a shame for him really. I hope he gets a chance, either with Arsenal or elsewhere. Is Akpom good enough? I might be mis-informed but I recall reading that he may have attitude problems. Reine-Adelaide is still young enough to make it but hasn’t really set the place alight during his first team appearances. Also concerned about the progress of Zelalem following his injury. He seemed to be having a… Read more »

Clive St Helmet

Thanks for the response Jeorge. Good reason for not including them!


Curious to know what you think about Tolaji Bola. He’s been in the England setup at youth levels and by all accounts havr heard that he has the right mentality to succeed.

Faisal Narrage

I’m a Malen fan.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but our academy didn’t have me as excited as I used to be years back. Maybe it’s just old jadedness, but I used to look forward to the customary preseason goal by that particular player who’s name escapes me.

I used to get excited for the future of Miyachi, Wellington Silva, Chesny, Jack, JET, and many others.

Yet here we are.

Faisal Narrage


Lord Bendnter

Oh Carlos Vela that beauty!


I want to see more of Malen and Nelson. This kids are quality, get them in there early I say

Andy Mack

I do remember when Aneke and Afobe looked like a formidable pair….

Faisal Narrage

This is what I mean. After years of hype and so many never succeeding, it’s easy to become jaded, particularly as from our golden generation of the Youth Double, only Coquelin has survived, which included the likes of Jack and Scszy.

Tbh, I think if Afobe was given a chance he could’ve developed into a decent squad option. Remember, we let him go to make room for Sanogo. In the 18 months period, one went from playing against Bayern to U23s bench of Ajax, the other went from League 1 to an established PL striker.


actually we released afobe because we had another player with better potential than him in akpom . its easy to say that this player could’ve been good if we’ve given chance , but the truth is that afobe is not even a second choice striker for bournemouth . in fact by next season i’m pretty sure he will be third choice with another player performing better than him . afobe had an advantage of size when playing for the reserve team and thus scored a lot of goals . akpom on the other hand was much better technically . arsenal… Read more »

Santi\'s Smile

Just want more brilliant post match interviews from Pleguezuelo


Really unfortunate that Stephy Mavididi is injured. Would have loved to see him in during preseason.

That\'s Naumbmeyang!

I bought tickets to the sydney match and no idea who i’m going to see, it both interests and worries me


What about those Nigerian kids?

The Maverick (Tom Cruise stole my name!)

Yeah, there was a lot of buzz about them when they signed. Kanu was there with his great smile and the HYPE WAS REAL!

Surely they should be good enough for a pre-season tour?


One of them had a good loan spell last season, don’t think he qualifies for visa yet though?

uncle D

The consequence of having a bad season. These guys could not be afforded the time this season to show their stuff. Hopefully a good season will give them more chances to gain some experience


No mention of Nwakali who was voted our most successful loanee.

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