Bradley Ibrahim isn’t yet fully established as a regular starter for Arsenal U21s, but the talented young midfielder received his first senior callup last night.
The 17-year-old, who joined Arsenal from QPR as a schoolboy, was an unused substitute against Bodo/Glimt and has been heavily involved in first-team training recently.
It was interesting that Ibrahim was selected to be on the bench ahead of players who play more frequently at U21 level, such as Jack Henry-Francis, but his inclusion speaks volumes for how highly regarded he is at the club.
Ibrahim can play either as a defensive midfielder or a central midfielder and reads the game well, while he is a fine passer. He has also been used as a centre-back but doesn’t seem especially comfortable in that position.
The main aim now for Ibrahim will be to establish himself as a regular for the U21s, although there is much competition for places in midfield at that level.
An England U18 international, Ibrahim’s progress has been monitored by Mikel Arteta for some time, with the youngster having been involved in a first-team friendly against Brentford B last season.
If he continues to develop well then Ibrahim may not have to wait too long until he makes his competitive debut for the club.
Ibrahim is also still eligible to represent Arsenal U18s this season and he could have an important part to play as Jack Wilshere’s team go for glory in the FA Youth Cup.
Overall, this could be a very eventful season for Ibrahim.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
With the occasional one or two spots on the bench available for Premier League games, and even more for European games, I wonder if Mikel is deliberately rotating these amongst as many youth players as possible, as a reward and confidence boost.
So far in a matchday squad this season we’ve seen Edwards, Sousa, Smith, Cirjan, Nwaneri, Cozier-Duberry, Ibrahim, and Hein.
Wouldn’t be surprised to see Henry-Francis, Taylor-Hart, and Walters on the bench in the coming weeks.