Dominic Thompson showed some considerable signs of improvement last season but the young Arsenal defender knows that he will have to step up again this time around as he looks to progress even further.
A graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, left-back Thompson signed scholarship terms with the Gunners two years ago but his first season as a full-time player certainly didn’t go to plan as he barely featured for the U18s and often found it difficult to make a major impact when he was called upon.
Last season, however, was rather different, as Thompson achieved several milestones which culminated in him being awarded his first professional contract.
Thompson established himself as a regular in Arsenal’s U18 team and went on to captain Kwame Ampadu’s side in the league as the campaign wore on, while he was also a major part of the side that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup.
In addition, the youngster received his first call-up to the U23 squad for the Premier League International Cup final against Porto, and this term he will be looking to gain as much experience as possible playing for the second-string.
Initially Thompson may have to be patient for opportunities. Cohen Bramall is still at the club, while Tolaji Bola recently signed a new deal and Jordi Osei-Tutu has been used at left-back for the first-team in pre-season.
Eventually, though, it is anticipated that Thompson will get some playing time for the U23s and he will be aware that the step up in quality is a considerable one, especially as some teams occasionally field first-team players.
Featuring in the Checkatrade Trophy would also be hugely beneficial to Thompson and would help to provide a gauge of the level that he is currently at.
Thompson has battled bravely to reach this stage and deserves much credit for getting into the U23 squad. Now, however, there is much more work to come as he looks to ensure that he can carve out a successful career in the game, whether at Arsenal or elsewhere.