Despite having only recently established himself as a regular in Arsenal’s U23 side, Zach Awe received his first senior callup for Arsenal last night.
The centre-back, who can also play in midfield, was named amongst the substitutes for the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it will certainly have been a useful experience for Awe, who is regarded highly by the club.
Tall and possessing impressive technical ability, Awe, 18, has made some costly errors at times at youth level but he has performed with greater consistency of late.
Another member of the U23 squad made the trip to Molineux, with Hubert Graczyk travelling as third choice goalkeeper due to Bernd Leno being unavailable.
With Arsenal having a small first-team squad, it seems likely that further academy players will be called up for the remaining games.
It will only take one absentee from the first-team for a youth player to be drafted in, and Gabriel Martinelli’s suspension for the game against Brentford means Mikel Arteta will have to call upon at least one youngster.
As well as Awe, Charlie Patino, Mika Biereth, Omari Hutchinson, Salah-Eddine and Ryan Alebiosu (who is now on loan at Crewe Alexandra) have already been named on the bench in the Premier League this season, and others are set to follow.
Omar Rekik and Miguel Azeez, who possess experience of senior football of some description, could well be called upon at some stage, while Joel Lopez is an option at left-back.
Whether any of the youngsters get onto the pitch at all is another matter entirely but they do at least have a good chance of being involved with the first-team, demonstrating the benefit of being able to name nine substitutes.