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.