Saturday, May 18, 2024

James Hillson hoping to get closer to Arsenal first-team squad

It has been notable throughout the first half of the season that James Hillson has often trained with the Arsenal first-team squad.

At the age of 22, Hillson is the oldest player in the academy and even taking into account the fact that goalkeepers are usually given longer to develop than outfield players, a decision will surely have to be made on his long-term future soon.

Hillson joined Arsenal initially on loan from Reading in 2019 before making the move permanent later that year.

Throughout his time at Arsenal Hillson has made just three league appearances for the U21s but despite that he appears to be the youth goalkeeper who is closest to the first-team squad at present and he has travelled with the team on several occasions this campaign.

Ovie Ejeheri usually starts in goal for the U21s but it is Hillson who Mikel Arteta appears to have more faith in.

A space could open up in the first-team squad next month in terms of the third-choice goalkeeper, with Karl Hein in need of a loan spell.

The Estonia international has made just one competitive senior appearance for Arsenal in total and this campaign has featured just twice any any level, with both of those appearances coming for the U21s.

Hein previously had a loan spell at Reading in 2022 and certainly needs to test himself elsewhere.

If Hein does depart on a temporary basis then it could provide Hillson with the opportunity to be Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper for the remainder of the campaign.

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

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