Ben Cottrell is still eligible to play at U18 level, but the fact that he has mainly featured for Arsenal U23s this season is indicative of the talent that he possesses.
The central midfielder, who has also received international recognition with England U18s, has played some slick passes this season and his short-term future at Arsenal is already secure after he signed a professional contract last season.
Given that he isn’t particularly tall or strong, there were some initial difficulties for Cottrell as he started to adapt to U23 level, but it was always clear that he has the technical qualities required to succeed.
Yesterday Cottrell set up Tyreece John-Jules to score the only goal of the game as Arsenal U23s beat Southampton 1-0.
It was a fine pass from the 18-year-old and he should now receive further opportunities at that level, even when Robbie Burton returns from suspension.
First-team involvement is still some way away for Cottrell, with a host of midfielders currently ahead of him in the pecking order, but if he continues to develop then he could well get a chance eventually.
Next up for the U23s is a home game against Villarreal as Arsenal get their Premier League International Cup campaign underway.
That game should provide Cottrell with another opportunity to catch the eye and edge closer to fulifilling his aim of making the breakthrough.