Most of the players who were in the same scholarship intake as Tolaji Bola are now experiencing senior football of some description.
Donyell Malen, for instance, has played in the Champions League for PSV Eindhoven, while Eddie Nketiah has gained experience representing both Arsenal and Leeds United.
Bola, however, is, at the age of 20, yet to play a minute of senior football, competitive or otherwise.
There are some significant reasons behind that, with a series of injuries having hindered his progress, while Bola has never been the most reliable of defenders.
The youngster was an unused substitute in the Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest earlier this campaign and has been training regularly with the first-team of late, even more so since the appointment of Mikel Arteta.
With Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac both sidelined, Bola was selected to travel with the Arsenal squad for yesterday’s game against Bournemouth as the 19th man. He may not have made the bench, but it was still a valuable experience for the youngster as he got to see how the first-team prepare for away games.
There is a feeling that Bola could soon be given his chance in the spotlight. If Kolasinac isn’t available for the FA Cup game against Leeds then it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see Bola thrown in at left-back as Bukayo Saka surely won’t be able to play every single game.
As alluded to, Bola does have defensive deficiencies, but he has shown some significant improvements of late at U23 level with regards to his positioning. In addition, he provides a significant threat with his teasing crosses.
It is difficult to envisage Bola succeeding at Arsenal in the long term but he may well be called upon at some point over the next few weeks.