International breaks can often be very tedious for supporters, but for Arsenal youngsters who aren’t away with their countries, such occasions can be extremely eventful.
With a host of first-team players playing across the world, a large contingent of youngsters were drafted in to participate in training sessions with the senior squad over the last couple of weeks.
Defenders Julio Pleguezuelo, Zech Medley, Tobi Omole, Tolaji Bola and Dominic Thompson were all involved along with midfielder Charlie Gilmour, winger Nathan Tormey and goalkeepers Deyan Iliev and Karl Hein.
The sessions gave the aforementioned players the opportunity to impress Unai Emery and to test themselves against the members of the first-team squad that weren’t on international duty.
While it is difficult to envisage any of these players receiving much first-team game time this season, they are now on Emery’s radar and could be selected to participate in further training sessions if injuries strike later in the campaign.
Another interesting development from this week’s training sessions was that U23 coach Freddie Ljungberg was heavily involved in proceedings.
Ljungberg has made an impressive start to his tenure in charge of Arsenal’s youngsters, who are in second place in Premier League 2, level on points with leaders Everton, who they face next week.
Arsenal’s style of play at U23 level has mirrored that of the first-team this season, with Ljungberg’s side playing the ball out from the back and closing down the opposition at every opportunity.
The U18s, meanwhile, are back in action this weekend when they host Reading and they have yet to appoint a permanent successor to Kwame Ampadu, who left the club to join Monaco’s coaching staff.
It is anticipated that Ken Gillard, who was Ampadu’s assistant, will take charge of the team against the Royals and could be given the job on a caretaker basis.