Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Nwaneri and Lewis-Skelly gain further experience with Arsenal U21s

With Arsenal U21s involved in a host of different competitions this season it has given coach Mehmet Ali the opportunity to give game time to various players.

That was certainly the case against Stoke City in the Premier League Cup yesterday afternoon, with Arsenal’s starting lineup including five players who are still eligible to feature for the U18s, including schoolboys Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly.

Lewis-Skelly, who has been selected to travel with the first-team for their training camp in Dubai, is usually a midfielder but was deployed at left-back against Stoke and gave a good account of himself.

Nwaneri played some neat passes although he did give the ball away in the build-up to Stoke’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw.

Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri are becoming increasingly involved with the U21 squad, and games such as this are hugely beneficial for their overall development in terms of their work off the ball.

Other players who have barely featured for the U21s in the league this season, such as George Lewis and Kido Taylor-Hart, also started against Stoke. Taylor-Hart was deployed out of position in midfield and played a pass which led to Joel Ideho being fouled in the area before Khayon Edwards scored a penalty.

Taylor-Hart’s situation is somewhat strange as the 20-year-old is undoubtedly talented but he has found himself rather edged out due to the progress of other players such as Amario Cozier-Duberry and Charles Sagoe Jr.

Arsenal U21s are back in action on Tuesday night when they face Stevenage away in the Papa Johns Trophy, with Ali set to select his strongest possible team for that fixture.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Johnny 4 Hats

The Arsenal youth system is feeling less like it has had a golden generation and more like it is the golden goose.

Boy Bastin

As always, the real yardstick is how many of these young players will eventually find their way into the senior squad. We’ve had a pretty good average recently (remembering that only a small fraction ever makes it that far) and it would be great, both financially for the club and to provide encouragement for others coming through, if Arsenal could keep that going.

Teryima Adi

Our developmental programme is great.

allezkev

We have some exceptionally talented youngsters, both at the club and out on loan, keeping them is always problematic with agents hovering in the wings but by and large the club has done well in the last few years losing only Musah, Amaechi and Hutchinson in that way.

Boy Bastin

True, but at the end of the day we can’t keep them all. I remember reading somewhere that, overall, only something like 2% of youngsters on average actually make it through to their respective first team squads.

Gabigol

What happens to the teamwork and camaraderie if players are moved around between age groups or into senior team without some settled group where they can learn to develop combinations. Or is the focus on fitting into the system rather than developing them to also have individuality if they have such skill sets. Are most unique abilities discovered at a young age already?

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