Competition for places can be a positive, but with regards to the goalkeeping position in the Arsenal U23 side, there are perhaps too many individuals in contention at present.
Deyan Iliev is still in the U23 squad at the age of 25 but it is difficult to envisage him playing at that level this season, especially after he gained experience on loan last campaign with Sered and Jagiellonia Bialystok.
Karl Hein was the first-choice shot-stopper for Steve Bould’s side last season and also trained with the first-team in the closing stages of the campaign. The Estonian is a fine shot-stopper, although he does occasionally make costly errors.
Arthur Okonkwo, meanwhile, is back available after missing a year of action. The England youth international previously produced some excellent performances for the U23s and will hope that he will soon be able to reclaim his place in the side.
Then there is James Hillson to consider, who was previously at Reading. Hillson also has good reflexes but was used sparingly last season and it will be intriguing to see what is in store for him this time around.
Completing the quintet is Tom Smith, a Hale End product who helped Arsenal U18s to win the Southern section title a couple of seasons ago. Last season Smith produced some encouraging performances on loan at Salisbury but injury curtailed his campaign.
It is clear, then, that Arsenal have some decisions to make about their young goalkeepers. Iliev will probably go on loan again, while Hein is set to start the season as first-choice for the U23s with Okonkwo providing backup.
Hillson could possibly go on loan, perhaps abroad to gain experience, and Smith will hope that he will be able to receive playing time whether at Arsenal or elsewhere.