With Arsenal having a rather large U21 squad at present, some of the highly-rated U18s may have to be patient for opportunities with the older age group.
Amario Cozier-Duberry and Bradley Ibrahim already possess some experience of playing for the second-string, but both players started for the U18s against Chelsea yesterday in their opening game of the season.
Cozier-Duberry was very bright as the U18s lost 1-0 in Jack Wilshere’s first competitive game in charge.
The winger, who can also play as an attacking midfielder, is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the academy and will hope that it won’t be too long before he steps up to the U21s on a regular basis.
Ibrahim, who like Cozier-Duberry, is an England youth international, was deployed in midfield yesterday.
The 17-year-old is also capable of playing at centre-back, but he certainly seems most effective in midfield and is effective at breaking up play as well as initiating attacks.
It is expected that by the end of the campaign both players will be well established in the U21s, although for that to happen quite a lot of the older youngsters will need to be moved on either permanently or on loan.
The U21 Premier League Cup and International Cup competitions could provide opportunities for the likes of Cozier-Duberry and Ibrahim to play for Mehmet Ali’s team as they look to really push on in their development.
There are other second years, such as left-back Elian Quesada-Thorn and midfielder Mathaeus Roberts, who also have designs on breaking into the U21 setup in the near future.