Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Arsenal trio make U21s league debuts in difficult circumstances

The second half of the season in U21s football usually brings about a significant amount of change in terms of personnel and that process is being followed again this time around.

Arsenal loaned out players including Taylor Foran and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji on transfer deadline day, which has created space in the U21 squad for others to step up.

With Zane Monlouis still out injured, Maldini Kacurri was given his first league appearance for the U21s in Monday’s game away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It was a difficult afternoon for the 17-year-old centre-back as he made an error for Wolves’ first goal, which was scored by Pedro Neto. Kacurri, who has only recently returned from injury, went off at half time but will undoubtedly have learned a lot from this experience.

Up front another first-year scholar was called upon in Omari Benjamin. The Hale End product worked tirelessly and wasn’t afraid to engage in a physical battle with the Wolves players, but he didn’t receive much service.

Benjamin could have a significant part to play for the U21s, at least until Khayon Edwards returns from injury.

In the second half coach Mehmet Ali gave out another Premier League 2 debut, with 16-year-old right-back Josh Nichols entering the fray.

Nichols had struggled in the 7-2 defeat to PSV in the Premier League International Cup but gave a better account of himself on this occasion and will hope that he can get further opportunities for the U21s.

Schoolboy midfielders Myles Lewis-Skelly and Ethan Nwaneri also featured against Wolves, although Lewis-Skelly had to go off at half time due to injury.

It seems like there will be further opportunities in the U21s for members of the U18 squad as the campaign progresses.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Good luck to them all, Hale End is great!

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