Medley hoping for Carabao Cup chance

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There was a surprise inclusion on the Arsenal bench for the victory over Leicester City last Monday, with 18-year-old Zech Medley named in a matchday squad for the first-team for the first time.

Medley, a tall centre-back who is composed in possession, has developed well since joining Arsenal in 2016, when he impressed on trial having elected to leave Chelsea.

This season Medley has established himself as an important player for Arsenal at U23 level, forging an effective partnership with Danny Ballard at the heart of the defence in recent games.

Although Medley has previously represented England at U16 level, he hasn’t been involved with the national team recently and, as a consequence, was able to train with the first-team during the recent international break.

Medley evidently impressed Unai Emery, who selected him to train with the senior squad the day before the Leicester game and, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos still working his way back to full fitness, the youngster was named on the bench.

Although he didn’t enter the fray, the experience will undoubtedly be a valuable one for Medley, and he will be aiming for further involvement this campaign.

Frustratingly, Medley isn’t eligible to play in the Europa League at present as to be registered for that competition youth players have to have been at a club for two whole years. In December Medley will be able to be added to Arsenal’s Europa League squad, but he is able to feature in the Carabao Cup.

Medley will hope to be involved in some capacity against Blackpool next week, although given Emery’s policy of naming strong squads for cup games, the youngster’s best chance of involvement is likely to be as a substitute.

It is a boost for Medley, though, that he has seemingly managed to edge ahead of Julio Pleguezuelo and Ballard in terms of being closer to the first-team, although the suspicion remains that the latter perhaps has the most potential out of the trio.

Medley, however, can be pleased with his development so far and will now be looking to push on further as he edges closer to making his first-team debut.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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A Different George
A Different George

Two years to be eligible for the Europa League can’t be right; maybe a rule for youth players?

KongoKim
KongoKim

Im not sure but i think this has something to do with that youth players often go out on loan to play in “weaker” leagues and they possible could weaken the opposition, but not the club which “owns” the player becaue they are not allowed to play against them.
Imagine facing Vorskla with 6 youth PL Loanees like Smith-Rowe.

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

Two years registered at a club be considered a U21 player for that club, and therefore in the “B list”, so not taking up a place in a UEFA 25 man squad list.

It’s to ensure (or at least help) actual youth team/academy players have the opportunity for game time and not have clubs exploiting the rules (by putting £40m 20 year olds clubs have just bought into their u21 lists, freeing up slots for £150m 26 year olds).

Medley is unlucky, but he would have taken up a someone like Mavropanos’ or Holding’s squad place, as opposed to the likes of Ballard or Pleguezuelo who we can register infinite numbers of without taking any first team slots.

Pedant
Pedant

Let’s mix it up for Medley.

Jagaban07
Jagaban07

Good luck to the lad …Don’t we have a left back in the youth setup we can at least try out? Surely someone trained in that position would be better than playing folks out of position. Fullbacks are particularly important in the Emery set up where all the width comes from them.

George
George

Thanks for that!

I was wondering who Medley was after seeing him on the bench and wanted to know some more.

allezkev
allezkev

Would be good to see a couple of our youngsters get starts this Wednesday, Nketiah in particular, with a couple more off of the bench.