Arsenal U18s – Season End Report
By Andrew Crawshaw
Before I start, there are four levels of players in terms of age that I will refer to in this article.
Starting with the youngest we have schoolboys up to the age of 15 or so.
We then get to the First and second Year Scholars who have not signed professional terms but are in full time education and football training with the club. All will look to become Young Professionals when (or soon after) they reach 17. In the tables below the status of the players is current, not relating to the start of the season.
I would also like to acknowledge that I have relied very heavily on both the Arsenal.com and Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth web site.
The U18 team had a difficult season finishing in bottom place in their playoff league which was formed of the bottom eight teams based on league points from the first half of the season
For Arsenal to have a team in bottom place is clearly not acceptable and changes will have to be made to ensure improvements for next year. Some of our performances were dire and our defence in particular was shambolic at times.
Whether the changes will come via new players, changes in coaching staff or training methods is, as yet unknown, but if things stay the same then the effect will be to turn off the ‘talent tap’ which Arsenal need to keep on producing quality players either for the first team or for sale to raise funds.
The league table at this level of football is only one method of judging performance. Another criteria is how young players have progressed and here are two tables that compare the teams at the end and start of the season
End of Season Arsenal 1 Fulham 5
[* Full name Chatzitheodoritis – sorry I was having problem with the layout. Tony]
- 12 – Huddart – GK – 6:5:1997 – 18 – Young Pro – England – U16
- 13 – Smith-Rowe – Forward – 2000 – Schoolboy – England
- 14 – Burton – CM – 2000 – Schoolboy – Wales
- 15 – Da Graca – CB – 16:1:1998 – 17 – Sweden – U16
- 16 – Gilmour – CM – 11:2:99 – Schoolboy – England – U16
Start of Season
Brighton 0 v Arsenal 4
|CB||O’Connor *||23:01:97||17||Young Pro||English|
|CB||Wright *||30:10:1996||18||2nd Year||England||U17|
|Mid||Smith *||3:10:1996||18||2nd Year||Austrian||U18|
|DM||Dobson *||15:11:97||17||Young Pro||England|
|Wing||Robinson *||16:9:97||17||Young Pro||England|
|AM||Willock *||31:1:98||16||Young Pro||England||U16|
|Str||Hinds *||28:1:98||16||Young Pro||England||U16|
|Str||Mavididi *||31:5:98||16||1st Year||England|
- Phillips (GK) – 2:12:99 – 15 – Schoolboy – English
- Donovan – 31:1:98 – 16 – First Year – English
- Silva – 23:10:98 – 16 – Schoolboy – England
- Sheaf – 5:2:98 -16 – English – U16
What has happened to the players marked * since the start of the season?
Stefan O’Connor, Elliot Wright, Renny Smith, George Dobson, Tyrell Robinson, Chris Willock, Kaylen Hinds, and Stephy Mavididi and Ben Sheaf were all promoted and ended the season as full members of the U21 team.
So on the progression front the season can’t be described as a disaster.
Whether the players were actually ready for U21 football is another question, the schoolboys that were asked to take their places certainly struggled at times.
The U18 squad also formed the basis of the team that did well in the U19 Champions League, being augmented by some of the younger members of the U21 squad and generally acquitted themselves well.
In conclusion – the year was generally disappointing at this level but a number of players showed that they are capable of playing good football. As the more senior squad members were called up to the U21 level the gaps left behind had to be filled by schoolboys.
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