Friday, June 21, 2024

Dubai trip could provide chances for others at U21 level

Arsenal U21s host Middlesbrough tomorrow night in their first game of 2024 but it could be a rather different lineup that takes to the field for the Gunners than usual.

A host of academy players have been selected to travel with the first-team squad for their warm-weather training camp in Dubai, with Ethan Nwaneri, Reuell Walters, Charles Sagoe Jr, Mauro Bandeira and James Hillson amongst the players included.

As a consequence, they won’t be able to feature for the U21s, which could open up opportunities for others to impress at that level.

Defender Ayden Heaven, for instance, is a first year scholar but has been involved with the U21s this campaign and he could have a part to play against Middlesbrough, especially given that he is also capable of operating at left-back if he isn’t required in his usual position of centre-back.

Another versatile player, Michal Rosiak, could also be called upon. Rosiak possesses plenty of experience of playing at right-back but this season he has mainly been used in central midfield, a position he is also comfortable in.

Last weekend Rosiak had an eventful game for the U18s against Aston Villa as he missed a penalty before proceeding to score twice from the spot. With his excellent passing and technique Rosiak is an exciting player to watch and he will now be looking to step up to the U21s on a more regular basis.

If some of the U18s feature for the U21s then it will also have a knock-on effect with regards to Jack Wilshere’s team selection for the game against Reading on Saturday as some younger players could be involved.

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

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