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October 2016
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Asia Trophy squad: further reflections, further info on the youngsters

By Walter Broeckx with additional material by Tony Attwood


We’ve already published an article on the squad for the Asia Trophy, so I will not go in to the names of the already known players but will stick to some of the more unknown players that will join the big boys on this trip.

And one of them is a newcomer. Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who is currently 17 and who came over from French side Lens this summer will be with the big boys. He is an attacking midfielder and has just won the European U-17 championship with France. Looking forward to see you Jeff ‘reign’ midfield.

Jeff-Reine Adelaïde was born on the 17th January 1998 at Champigny-sur-Marne and was in the France U17s beat side that beat Germany 4-1 recently. The last France U17s team that did this included Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Benoit Costil.

Adelaïde began like most youngsters playing for his local team, before being noted by RC Lens’ youth academy.

Writing about him RC Lens expert and journalist Romain Scheers was quoted on GetFootballNewsFrance as saying that he is “Swift, pacey and with a frightening change of pace,” and that “Adelaïde excels at beating his man. He often plays in an attacking midfield role just behind the main forward. The youngster has 9 caps with France U17s, scoring once in the process, and one cap with the U16s.

“At the age of just 16, he had already played 7 games of the reserve team on top of his matches with the U19s. This season, Lens boss Antoine Kombouaré, in charge of the first team, called him up the the first team squad in the 33rd game of the Ligue 1 season against Metz.”

Moving on, a more familiar name is Chuba Akpom. A few rumours that he might leave for a whole season on loan for the moment but let us see how he can perform with the big boys. I would love it if he would make it directly in to the Arsenal first team without any loan.  Whenever I saw him in the short time he got last season he looked very promising and exciting and he could be an amazing forward if he can make that last step up. I know that is the most difficult step to make and it is where a lot of them stumble and never recover. But somehow I think Chuba is the one that can make it in the most difficult position there is.

And of course a name that has been burning on a few lips since a while will be also on the plane: Dan Crowley. One that has gotten me excited on the few occasions I could watch the youth teams from Arsenal play. A dribbling wizard, good goal scorer, excellent free kick taker, one of the hottest talents in English football.

He has a small frame but I think after having seen Messi shine for Barcelona that shouldn’t matter any more. And if you really want examples closer to home…why don’t we take Alexis who is smaller than Messi as an example. And if you really are not convinced about it and you demand more height why don’t you take Santi Cazorla. 1.65 meter but he really can dominate matches.

And besides that Crowley has had a bit of a late grow period it seems as he is now being said to be 1.74 meters and that is not that bad. Hell, he is even bigger than me. Just.

Alex Iwobi is also on the list of the younger players. He has been with Arsenal since he was eight, and hasn’t had many headlines till now to be honest (well not that I have seen them) so he is a bit of an unknown player for me. I have seen him score a few goals on the short clips on from the youth matches but that doesn’t give you a real clue of who he is and what he can do.

What people do say is that he is incredibly versatile, he has turned down the chance of playing for England to play for Nigeria, his idol is Kanu, and his uncle is former Bolton and Hull City player Jay-Jay Okocha.

Also on the tour will be two players that we have seen already in pre-season. Gedion Zelalem is a name that we have heard for the first time 2 seasons ago. He was amazing then and I admit I had hoped to see him on a higher level by now. I don’t know what has held him back but it seems that he didn’t progress as expected. Or was he being trained to play in another way and was he having difficulties on adapting to a new position and a new way of playing? With Gedion being 18 now the time is there to really make steps forward. But he faces a lot of competition from some of the best players in the world in his position.

And we also have Chris Willock on the plane. Chris played in the first match of last season when we Boreham Wood. But after that I didn’t really hear a lot about him to be honest. But he is only 17 years old so he still has a bit of time to learn the job. And as a winger his way looks a bit blocked by that bloke from Chile who just won a big cup so maybe better for him to learn a bit from Alexis and be patient.

If I remember it correctly the team will fly out next Sunday and then we will play against the Signapore XI on Wednesday.  On the official website I have seen that there is a Sky Sports sign on this match so for people in England I think it will be shown live on Sky. I think it is a pity that will only have it on their audio player and will not be screening it live.  I do hope that Arsenal realise that there are a few million Gooners out there in the world who don’t have access to Sky and would have loved to see the match in good conditions on our own Arsenal player.

Arsenal only play 4 matches before things really start with the CS match against Chelsea so they better hit the ground running I would say.

Today’s anniversary 

  • 9 July 1999: Barnet 1 Arsenal 6.  Arsenal started a three year sponsorship with
    SEGA worth £10m, with this match.

11 comments to Asia Trophy squad: further reflections, further info on the youngsters

  • para

    Cant wait to see the new comers put in a good display and of course Chuba Akpom to stake his place, again in the 1st team. Mind you, according to AW he is already with us(the 1st team).

    Just want to see them playing again, as you say, only 4 games before the Shield and want to show Chelsea they are not going to have it so easy this season.

  • Andy Mack

    I’m disappointed to hear that Iwobi has nailed his flag to the Nigerian Mast. I doubt that will have helped him at AFC as I think AW is pretty pi55ed off with the ACN still being held every 2 years as a pure money making event for the local associations (it should be every 4 years like the ‘grown up’ competitions). If he does ‘break through’ and also gets picked for the ACN then he’ll have big problems getting back into the 1st team again.

  • Nonny

    @ Andy Mack

    Deciding to play for you parental country ie Nigeria against your country of birth is a thing of choice. If he makes it big time, nothing stops him from doing his job efficiently like Drogba and Yaya Toure has done in the recent past, irrespective of if he goes to the CAN or not.

    Arsenal does not shy away from using African players and they have contributed their quoter to Arsenal successes eg Kanu, Lauren, Song, Kolo Toure etc. Mind you, even Viera and Chuba Akpom are of African origin and Akpom might still choose to play for Nigeria in future.

  • Hisham

    The First Team is packed with over 21 players. Some may leave on loan or permanently if they don’t make the 25 man squad. With the Champions League rules, some of the youngsters may have to be named in the 25 man squad, so one or two more “seniors” will lose out.

    Saying that, this coming season will be tougher for the teen Gunners to make it into the First Team match day squad. Hopefully, not too many will be send out on loan as these youngsters will benefit from playing in the Under-19 Youth Champions League this coming season. Should the best of them get to play together, who knows we could dream of seeing them hoisting the Youth European Cup next year!

  • colario


    In the past Arsene has used African payers but there was always the problem of losing key players every two years mid season. Not good for the team and the club.

    Solution to the problem use players that don’t come with this problem.

    I don’t know the mind of Arsene so it could be that we don’t have any players with this problem because Arsene hasn’t found a player good enough for Arsenal.

    Its not difficult to see that we have jumped the pond from Africa to America.

    Might the reason be policy as well as player ability?

  • Pat

    I saw Alex Iwobi score his hat trick for the under-21s. Very enjoyable.

    I am now very glad that I also saw Abou Diaby play in that match and play very well too. A little memory of what might have been.

  • OlegYch

    pre-seasons will be televised on setanta

  • Gord

    Ladies transfers

    Our main backup goalkeeper (Siobhan Chamberlain) has gone to Notts County for the rest of the season on loan, due to their not having enough goalkeepers.

    And today, Lianne Sanderson has decided to leave Arsenal (again). I guess she wasn’t starting all the time, and going with England to sit on the bench finally moved something inside her, and she has said goodbye.

    Good luck to both Ladies, and I hope Siobhan comes back healthy and more experienced.

    What else does one do, when in a heat wave? Make bread of course. Cut to a fairly fine dice, about a dozen habbenero peppers and crumbled 6 or so ounces of really old cheddar. Coat with a dusting of onion powder. Mix about half of that in with enough whole wheat bread dough to make two loaves in pans, and bake as a rounded loaf (a la rye bread). A slice of that with your morning coffee will wake you up.

  • Gord

    Ladies transfers

    More news from the Ladies is up. Two new signings, a 20 year old Dutch defender from Germany and a 25 year old Dutch goalkeeper from Holland.

    Which is probably how we could afford to loan Siobhan to Notts, as there was another goalkeeper on the way. There certainly seems to be a lot of movement on the roster.

    There are two new articles on the main website about Abou Diaby leaving. One from Wenger, and one from the Ox.

  • Andy Mack

    nonny, AW was a big supporter of African talent and did more than most to accommodate players going on ACN duty as he appreciated that African football needed a helping hand to establish itself globally, but the tournament is now established and the top African teams are as good as any other continent. Now the ACN must make the leap to 4 yearly to show that it is part of world football. AW knows that and is unlikely to buy more African players unless they are truly world class (or he can see that potential).
    Let the lower clubs buy players that need to develop but get dragged away from the team investing the time and money in them every 2 years during the season. The bigger clubs will stop taking that risk and African football will suffer just because the ACN is now just a money raising show.

  • Andy Mack

    I hear that newbie Jeff-R-A was replaced by Toral at the last minute and went to Singapore.