Luke Plange had played just 15 minutes at U18 level prior to this season, but the talented young striker has adapted quickly following his promotion from the U16s.
Plange, a hardworking player who has steadily worked his way through the ranks at the Arsenal academy since joining in 2011, isn’t guaranteed a regular starting berth for the U18s this season, with Sam Greenwood and Alfie Matthews ahead of him in the pecking order.
However, on most of the occasions that Plange has been called upon this season he has impressed, notably finding the net against both Chelsea and West Ham United.
The latter strike proved particularly popular on line, with Plange bursting past several West Ham defenders before calmly finding the net.
It appears that, at present at least, Plange is better suited to making an impact off the bench, when his pace and directness can trouble tiring defences, as opposed to starting games.
Plange started the recent game against Southampton but wasn’t particularly effective, being withdrawn after 61 minutes.
There have been several signs, however, that the youngster is an impressive talent and he will hope to be involved in some capacity when Arsenal U18s continue their campaign after the international break with a clash against Leicester.
With a host of first-team players away with their countries, Plange was one of several youngsters afforded an opportunity to train with the Arsenal squad during the international break and he seized his chance, combining effectively with Mesut Ozil.
Plange’s aim remains to get into the first-team on a full-time basis, and, while there is still much hard work ahead of him, his impact in the early stages of this season will certainly have boosted his long-term chances.