Mazeed Ogungbo’s debut for Arsenal U18s last season certainly didn’t go to plan as, within seconds of coming on against Tottenham Hotspur, he scored an own goal in a 9-0 defeat.
Since then, however, Ogungbo, who is still a schoolboy, has enjoyed considerably better times as he prepares for next season, when he will officially become a full-time scholar at the club.
The centre-back, who has progressed through the ranks at Arsenal’s Hale End academy, is composed in possession and relishes bringing the ball out from the back in a similar style to that of Zech Medley, who has recently become involved with the first-team.
This season Ogungbo has mainly featured for the U16s but he has been involved with the U18s at various intervals and played against Northampton Town in the FA Youth Cup as a substitute last week.
Arsenal will host Tottenham in the next round of that competition and Ogungbo will be especially eager to feature in that fixture in some capacity as he looks to gain a measure of revenge for last season’s defeat.
If Ogungbo, who possesses excellent leadership qualities, continues to impress for Arsenal at youth level then there could well be something of a battle for his services on the international stage.
As well as being eligible to represent England and Nigeria, Ogungbo also has Irish heritage and has previously been called up by the Republic of Ireland at U16 level.
For now, though, Ogungbo’s main focus is on continuing to impress for Arsenal as he looks to gain as much experience as possible of U18 football.
The progress made by players such as Medley this season will provide Ogungbo, and others within the academy, with encouragement that there is a chance to be involved with the first-team eventually.