Reiss Nelson’s loan move to Hoffenheim will inevitably provide other youngsters in the Arsenal youth set-up with an opportunity to shine.
One of them, it seems, will be James Olayinka, with the Hale End product having been selected to start the U23s’ victory over Tottenham Hotspur last night in the absence of Nelson.
Olayinka, who is still eligible to play for the U18s, is still very much a work in progress and can take too long to release the ball on occasion, but he will undoubtedly benefit hugely from increased game time with the U23s.
Part of the Arsenal side that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup final last season, Olayinka is often deployed as a central midfielder but he is perhaps best suited to playing on the right wing, where he can use his pace and trickery to excellent effect.
Arsenal managed to prevail with a 2-1 win against Tottenham, and Olayinka played his part as his constant running helped to wear down the opposing defence.
With the Checkatrade Trophy to come, there are plenty of fixtures on the horizon, and it is anticipated that Olayinka could establish himself as an important member of Freddie Ljungberg’s side.
U18 boss Kwame Ampadu evidently has much faith in Olayinka, having frequently called upon him last season in important fixtures, and it is clear to see why the youngster is a firm favourite with coaches given that he is very hard-working and is capable of adapting to different situations quickly.
Retaining the Premier League 2 title will be a tough task for Arsenal U23s, especially without Nelson, but development takes precedence at this level and Olayinka looks as if he will be able to progress significantly as a consequence of his increased playing time.