Monday, July 22, 2024

U23 prospects edging closer to first-team involvement

It has been notable so far this season that fewer youngsters than usual have trained with the Arsenal first-team squad.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, Unai Emery has had the majority of his squad available for most games, with there having been far fewer injuries to senior players than has previously been the case.

Furthermore, many of the players that would usually come under consideration for first-team involvement – the most prominent members of the U23 squad – are still rather inexperienced at that level and as such don’t appear ready to be called up at this stage.

It also needs to be taken into consideration that the likes of Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe have only recently been promoted to the first-team squad, so it isn’t as if there aren’t any youngsters getting opportunities.

However, other than Bukayo Saka, who has featured more often for the first-team than perhaps anybody would have expected, there haven’t been many callups for those outside of the first-team squad.

Indeed, only Folarin Balogun, Robbie Burton and Tolaji Bola, who were unused substitutes against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, have been named in a matchday squad this season.

That could soon change, especially with a hectic schedule on the horizon. Should Arsenal’s final Europa League group game away to Standard Liege be of little importance, that could enable youngsters to be involved.

In addition, the third round of the FA Cup may also be a chance for youngsters to be called up, depending on the opposition.

This week, with a host of players away on international duty, Emery drafted midfielders Matt Smith, Jordan McEneff and James Olayinka in for first-team training sessions along with winger Nathan Tormey.

That quartet, along with Burton, could well get a senior callup over the next couple of months if they continue to work hard.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Let Ljungberg take charge of the Standard Liege game. He knows the under 23 players better than anyone. Also give him an opportunity to show what he can do and prepare him to take over Unai Emery.

Naked Cygan

Under Emery and his stuipd tactics we could have Messi, Ronaldo, Salah, and still get dominated by the likes of Brighton & Vitoria.


Arseblog and the newssite are the beacons of light in these gloomy days of uninspired tepid so called soccer the first team provides. The humour, sarcasm, comment section, stat columns, womens team updates and news from the youngsters are just the medicine I need to carry on as a Gooner. Thanks to everyone at Arseblog. Except John C


Good to have some young players bubbling under and hopefully bubbling upwards. Bouldie seems best suited to being at that level.


How sad is it that I check Arseblog twice a day in hopes of seeing that we’re going to get a new manager? Rhetorical question. It’s very sad.

I do appreciate the articles on the youth squads, Jeorge. Sorry for the interruption.


Hopefully these players, should they break through this season, aren’t used as an excuse by our current manager for lackluster results.

Sohel Khan

Good to have some young players bubbling under and hopefully bubbling upwards. Bouldie seems best suited to being at that level.

Naija gooner

What about tyrece john-jules

Gooner Sam

Good question, he seemed electric in pre-season


Hmm, Burton, really? Having been to quite a few youth games he’s always been the weakest link… but captain also I believe. Where did I hear that story before? Tyreece The Cat all the way!


I would love to see Tolaji Bola get his debut in the FA Cup. A very talented attacking left-back and I’m sure he would prove to be an able deputy / competitor to Tierney if Kolasinac moves on.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x