Xavier Amaechi surely would have made his first-team debut already had it not been for injury, so the winger will be especially determined to make an impact in the warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
A skilful winger who is usually deployed on the left wing, Amaechi has frequently impressed for Arsenal at U23 level since returning from his spell on the sidelines and was included in the travelling party for the training camp.
As a measure of just how highly regarded he is by Arsenal, the club chose to withdraw Amaechi from the England U18 squad so that Unai Emery could assess him during training.
Although it may be seen by some as a meaningless friendly, next week’s game against Al Nasr is a particularly important occasion for Amaechi as it could signal his maiden appearance for the first-team.
Should he feature and impress then the 18-year-old will have a good chance of being involved in cup competitions for the first-team next season.
Amaechi isn’t the only Arsenal youngster who has travelled with the first-team for the first time, with Arthur Okonkwo and James Olayinka also falling into that category.
Okonkwo, a highly-regarded goalkeeper, is just 17 and has yet to play for the U23s but will certainly benefit from being tested in training by the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, while Olayinka, an energetic midfielder, will relish the opportunity to learn from Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal’s trip to Dubai has attracted some criticism, and it is understandable that some supporters are concerned about the possibility of injuries being sustained against Al Nasr.
For the young players involved, though, this trip could well be used as a springboard for further first-team involvement, and Amaechi may be the individual who benefits the most.