The Arsenal academy certainly seems to be in better shape than it has been for several years and that also extends to some of the club’s talented schoolboys.
Miguel Azeez, for instance, will not sign scholarship terms until the summer but the England youth international has been training full time with the U18 squad this season and, slowly but surely, is becoming more influential for Ken Gillard’s side.
In the 3-1 victory at home to Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday, for instance, Azeez, a talented midfielder, entered the fray as a substitute and proceeded to both score and provide an assist.
A player with excellent technique, Azeez helps his team to dominate games with his precise passes and he is also capable of getting into dangerous attacking areas with regularity.
The high regard in which Azeez is held by the club was in evidence when he was named in the squad for the FA Youth Cup third round victory against Northampton Town last month, and he will hope to be involved in some capacity against rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the next stage of the competition.
For the remainder of this campaign Azeez’s objective is to gain as much playing time as possible for the U18s, which will enhance his development and prepare him for next season, when he should be one of the club’s key players at that level.
If he continues to progress at his current rate, Azeez could even break into Arsenal’s U23 squad as early as next season and there is also the possibility that he could train with the first-team squad.
Yunus Musah, another highly rated midfielder, is perhaps Arsenal’s standout schoolboy at present but Azeez isn’t far behind and the 16-year-old will be eager to carry on making an impact for the rest of the season.