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October 2016
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Looking for our next stunning talent: The Arsenal Under 18s


Arsenal Squads for 2015-16 – The U18s

by Andrew Crawshaw

The squad is likely to comprise primarily players from the players in the first year at Arsenal Academy as well as some of the exceptional talents at schoolboy level.  It may also be supplemented by some of those in the second year and some of the 17 year old young professionals (although both of these groups are more likely to be playing at U21 level).  I have added the 2014 squad numbers for the Second Year scholars and for Hugo Keto.

Just a word about definitions however.  A scholarship (ie being a scholar) means the player is part of the under 18 squad – and normally a player who becomes a scholar stays as a scholar for two years.

Scholars become part of the main stream show, training at the first-team’s training ground.  They are by and large just one step away from being a professional footballer.   But they are signed to the club – meaning this is the moment their freedom of movement is curtailed.  Before they sign as a scholar around 1 July, they can move on – and of course some do, often because they think they stand a greater chance of breaking through into the first team with a smaller club where competition for places is less intense.

The list below works down through the ranks – second year scholars, first year scholars, schoolboys.

Second Year Scholars

59 Marc Bola – 9 December 1997.  English, a defender capable of playing either left back or Centre back.  Marc was a regular starter at U18 level last year and also debuted at U21 level.  Will be looking to move up to the U21s on a more regular basis this season but it is quite possible that he may also feature at the lower level.

60 Ilias Chatzitheodoridis – Greek recruited from our Elite Academy in Greece.  Ilias is a Left back and will be looking to move up to the U21s but unlike Marc has not yet been promoted to the higher level squad so is likely to be seen at the lower level at least at the start of the year.

65 Harry Donovan – 30 Jan 1998.  Harry is English and a central midfielder.  He is a member of the U21 squad and so, like Marc is unlikely to feature much at U18 level.

72 Savvas Murgos – 16 March 1998.  A Greek central midfielder will be looking towards progressing into the U21s as the season progresses.

Young Professionals (could play at under 18 but more likely to be moving into the under 21s.)

69 Hugo Keto – 9 Feb 1998 – A Finnish (U16 capped) goalkeeper, likely to start as the main keeper at this level this season.  Signed his first professional contract this summer.  Will look to progress to U21 level as the season progresses.

Stephy Mavididi has risen up through the Arsenal system and played with the under 21s last season.  He is a forward, is 17 and an England youth international.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide    Suddenly came into the news because of talk of him going on this summer’s overseas trip as an attacking midfielder, having come from RC Lens. He is a France Under-17 international.  Speaking of him Arsene Wenger said, “He was born in 1998, which is always a good year for Arsenal… you cannot have bad players in that year!   He’s an offensive player but he can develop into an all-round midfielder as well. At the moment he plays on the right or left but I think he can develop as a central midfielder as well.”  (1998 was of course the Double Year).

First Year Scholars

Charlie Gilmour – 11 Feb 1999  A central midfielder, made his debut at U18 level last season.  He is English and has been capped at U16 level.

Edward Nkeitah – 30 May 1999.  A small but quick striker who is also capable of playing on the wing.  Also made his début at U18 level last season and was part of the U19 squad who took part in the AlKass cup in Doha where he made a big impact.  English and was formerly on Chelsea’s books.

Joe Willock – 20 August 1999.  The younger brother of Chris, he can play either as an attacking midfielder or winger.  Another England U16 player, made his début for the U18s last season.

Jordi Osei-Tutu – Signed this summer from Reading where he has been since he was 8, Jordi is a right back or winger.

Joshua Da Silva – 23 October 1998 – English and has progressed through Arsenal’s Hale End Academy, mostly played at U16 level last year but made his début for the U18s at the end of the season.  He is a striker.

Kostas Pileas – Cypriot U16 international, He is a Centre back or full back.  Represented Arsenal in the AlKass cup putting in some fine performances which earned him his Academy place.

Marcus Tabi – 2 Feb 1999 – English central midfielder or winger.  Made his debut at U18 level last season.

Nathan Tella – 5 July 1999 – Right Winger, English and again debuted at U18 level last year, another player who impressed in the AlKass cup.

Tolaji Bola – 4 January 1999 – An English Left back and unrelated to Marc Bola.  Played once for the U18s last season.

Vlad Dragomir – Romanian U16 Captain a central midfielder who signed this summer from Poli Timorosa.

Yassin Fortune – French U16 international, usually plays as a striker signed this summer from Lens.


Reiss Nelson – 10 December 1999.  Reiss has already been promoted and will be training full time at Colney with the U18s rather than at Hale End.  Although still a schoolboy he is considered one of the best young prospects at the Club and is a player who we should all look out for in the future.  He is English and a winger/striker.

Emile Smith-Rowe – Left winger, born in 2000 will play at U16 level for the most part this season but became the first player born this century to represent the U18s last season when he played in the away game at Newcastle.

George Phillips – 2 Dec 1999  English Goalkeeper again likely to play at U16 level for the most part but mat well deputise at U18 level when required.

Jordan Perrin – Another English Goalkeeper who will either play at U16 level or deputise at U18 level.  Earned a callup to the U18 squad last season for the Blackburn game.

Josh Benson – English midfielder came on as a substitute in last year’s U18 draw against Blackburn and will be hoping for a bigger involvement this coming season.  He is perhaps more likely to spend much of the season at U16 level though.

Rob Howard – English Right Back.  Played once last year for the U18s as a 15 year old.  Needs more experience at U16 level this year.

Robbie Burton – Welsh youth international.  He is a central midfielder who earned a call-up to the U18s for the Blackburn game.  Will also look to feature regularly at U16 level this year as he progresses.

Toby Omole – Nigerian Centre-back or defensive midfielder.  Made his debut last year as a substitute against Blackburn.  Again likely to feature at U16 level for the most part this year.



I know that the U18s had a 5 day training camp in Holland last week but I have been unable to find full details of who was there.  I do know that they played RKDEO (a local team) on July 04 winning 10-1.  Nketiah scored 4, Hinds 3, and Fortune, De Graca and Nelson were also on the score sheet.

The team was :- Keto, Osei-Tutu, De Graca, Pileas, Chatzitheodoridis, Tabi, Donovan, Tella, Mourgos, Nelson and Hinds.  Subs were:- Perrin, Gilmour, Nketiah, Dragomir, Fortune, Da Silva and Bola.

9 comments to Looking for our next stunning talent: The Arsenal Under 18s

  • What I really would like to see would be one or two of these players come through each year.

    All the rave reviews are about Jeff Reine-Adelaide. Maybe it will be him. But if not, a couple of the others would do me fine.


  • Gord

    Thanks for this Andrew. I tried looking for news (restricted to the Netherlands), nothing really jumped out for me on this.

  • Hisham

    A lot of emphasis in the previous years (and still continuing I suppose) has been on the “development” of the youngsters as future football professionals.

    Would be good to know if the strategy or policy of the Academy is now also changing to achieving a winning mentality by capturing the Youth League or the FA Youth Cup (last was in 2009?).

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Reiss Nelson is my choice for the player to watch out for in the future, he is very young but is very highly regarded in the club. It is very rare for a schoolboy to be moved to Colney for all of his football training.

  • Gord

    Run across TalentsHunter? They used to be .net, are apparently changing to .eu. Looking at the Talents being tracke din England, Arsenal has 32 players, Chelsea andLiverpool have 17, ManCity has 21 and ManU has 6. Arsenal appears to be one of the strongest in Europe, on that website.

  • Gord

    It would appear that someone is squatting on the ReissNelson domain. Losers.

  • Jambug


    “Would be good to know if the strategy or policy of the Academy is now also changing to achieving a winning mentality”

    I’m not 100% sure how important this is, especially in the younger age groups.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert on this but my understanding is that the ‘play to win’ mentality, as opposed to the ‘learn to play’ mentality, is one of the reasons we produce the Shawcrosses and Taylors of this World by the bucket load, and the Gazzas and Le Tiss’s are rarer than rocking horse sh!te.

    Also having a winning ‘youth’ side is not always indicative of the amount of individuals that will progress to senior level.

    A good, or even great team may be just that, a great team. This doesn’t necessarily mean that any of the individuals will be good enough to progress though.

    I know that, eventually, a winning mentality is needed, but I’m not sure that actually ‘winning’ medals at youth level is that important.

    Just a thought but I stand to be corrected.

    Actually, I’m sure it will all be there in the stats somewhere, but that’s for one of our more enlightened contributors who follow these things more closely than me.

  • Gord


    I gather the FIFA NNNN games are starting to work with female players.

    Being a Canadian, ice hockey is what we are exposed to, and in terms of female ice hockey players, Hayley Wickenheiser is the person to look at. And she has played mens senior ice hockey. Most other females coming into ice hockey, seem to make a statement as goaltenders.

    As being able to do the splits is part of being a goaltender in ice hockey, it may be that females will come into the NHL more in the future due to their superior flexibility in this one particular maneuver.

    I don’t know that females have a genetic advantage in any position in football. But I would not be surprised to find at some point in the future, to find a loan where a female was picked up to play a position in a Men’s league. And this would likely be from two related teams (one is male, the other is the associated female team).

    But in terms of TV advertising I seen, it would not bother me to see Christine Sinclair coming on as a substitute for any male striker. The women’s game is different, and male defenders would not know how to play her. But there is no doubt that Christine Sinclair is professional.

    I said that I don’t think there is a genetic disposition to positions in football. I think the same one might exist in football, for goaltenders. Maybe.

    Nearly all the coaching I have seen about goaltending in football, has goaltenders dive (two hands) to the corner. As a (makeshift) goaltender, I seldom dove to get a ball. More often than not, I did the splits, to reach with one arm and one foot for a ball. This includes penalties.

    Obviously, I cannot catch/trap a ball with one arm and one leg. I can however; redirect the ball much further with a leg, than most goalkeepers can parry a ball with their hands.

    Getting back up to consider rebounds is much easier to manage if one does the splits, than diving.

    Are we going to see females in the EPL at some point? Doing what? Why?

  • apo Armani

    c’mon!!! let Arsenal go and spend up 1billion on signings and salaries like Greece has done to the IMF and EMF or hang on on thats not the same as spending the Russians or the Arabs’ money!!! 🙂