‘We have an academy as well that we have to use and we will try to do that the best possible way.’
Those were the words of Mikel Arteta when asked at his press conference today about Arsenal’s squad depth.
With Arsenal’s first-team squad consisting of 24 players, it seems inevitable that there will be academy callups at some stage this season, and Matt Smith was the first of those when he was named on the bench against Aston Villa.
Smith, a midfielder with an impressive passing range, could be involved with the squad again at various points over the next few months and he will hope that at some stage he will be able to make his competitive debut for the club.
Jack Henry-Francis is another midfielder who is in contention, while there are plenty of players in other positions who will also be hoping to be drafted in, such as striker Khayon Edwards, full-backs Reuell Walters and Lino Sousa, winger Charles Sagoe Jr and centre-backs Zach Awe and Zane Monlouis.
In the second half of last season it was a somewhat similar situation with academy players frequently getting called up to matchday squads. However, none of them featured in the Premier League and at times it felt as if they were never going to come on regardless of the situation.
Perhaps this season, with five substitutions available, there may be a chance for some prospects to get on the pitch. Whatever happens, it seems likely that there will be plenty of academy callups.