Catalin Cirjan is still eligible to play for Arsenal U18s this season, but, such is his quality, the youth coaches elected to promote him to the U23s.
Cirjan has been involved in both of the games so far – featuring as a substitute in the win against Ipswich Town in the EFL Trophy before starting the league defeat to Southampton – and a common factor on both occasions was that the youngster was deployed on the right wing.
A player who relishes playing through balls, Cirjan is usually used in the number ten position, while he can also make an impact deeper in midfield.
However, given the presence of the likes of Ben Cottrell and Miguel Azeez, added to the fact that Arsenal don’t have many right wing options at U23 level, it appears that Cirjan could be wearing the number seven shirt quite frequently this campaign.
Playing there could be very beneficial for Cirjan’s development as he will have to track back regularly to help out Ryan Alebiosu, who is currently installed as the first-choice right-back for Steve Bould’s team.
Cirjan certainly has the technical qualities needed to play out wide, and although he doesn’t have blistering pace, he is certainly capable of tormenting defenders.
The 17-year-old received his first taste of first-team involvement when he was called up for the recent friendly against Aston Villa and now he is making further strides in his development.
A return to the number ten position at some stage seems inevitable, but for now Cirjan will look to make the most of being used out wide.