By Andrew Crawshaw
Chris Willock – English. Normally used as either a winger or Attacking Midfielder had 26 starts in all competitions last season featuring in all competitions (U18, FA Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League and U21s) scored 8 goals and was given a single yellow card.
Chris made great strides last season and has certainly propelled himself up the ‘pecking order’. In particular his performances against Blackburn and Aston Villa as the U21s gained promotion were eye catching in the extreme. He scored 2 against Blackburn and one against Villa from the right wing position. He will still qualify as an U18 player this coming season but will expect to become a mainstay of the U21s and will look to training sessions with the first team squad. A real player for the (not too distant) future.
Emille Smith-Rowe is a left sided attacker who made the breakthrough from the U16s to the U18 squad. No starts but 2 sub appearances
Donnyell Malen – Dutch. Donyell will still be an U18 qualified player this coming season. Last year he made 21 starts (7 U21, 3 UEFA League, 2 FA Youth Cup and 9 U18). He scored 13 goals and got 2 yellow cards. Donyell signed from Ajax and is expected to go far. He will be looking to establish himself as first choice for the U21s this coming season, but may well find himself behind some of the other strikers. Will need to work really hard this coming season.
Edward Nkeitah – English and a direct competitor for Donyell for the striker position at junior level. Currently he is ahead of Donyell as he was the leading scorer in the country at U18 level last year with 24 goals. He made the bench at U21 level at the end of the season but had no starts at that level. Will still qualify as an U18 player next season but has nothing left to prove at that level. Will certainly be looking for a permanent place in the U21s assuming he can make the transition to the next level. One of my picks as a future First Team Starter bur probably still a year or two away yet.
Joshua Da Silva – English, and will qualify as an U19 player this coming season. Had 20 starts last year scoring 2 goals and getting 2 yellow cards. Joshua is in danger of being left behind and will need to really put in a shift during pre-season to re-state his credentials to be an Arsenal player. Otherwise I fear he will not make the grade at Arsenal.
Kaylen Hinds – English. Will still qualify as an U18 player next season so still has time on his hands. Had 20 starts last season (1 at U18, 4 FA Youth Cup, 5 UEFA Youth League and 9 U21). Scored 6 goals and got a single yellow card. May well find himself behind Nkeitah this coming year. Needs to push on.
Stephy Mavididi – English. Another player who will still be qualified as an U18 player but will certainly be a mainstay of the U21 squad. He made 23 starts last season – none at U18 level and scored 16 goals. He was card free. Trained with the first team squad and will be looking to do that on a more regular basis. Another of my tips as a future first team player – always providing that he keeps working and stays injury free.
Reiss Nelson – English. He will still qualify as an U18 player this coming season, 21 starts last year (10 U21, 1 Youth Cup, 4 UEFA Youth League and 6 U21). Scored 7 goals and was card free. Another young winger fighting for his U21 place
Jeff Reine-Adelaide – French. Jeff is a player with a lot of expectation on his shoulders. He signed at the beginning of last season and impressed in pre-season but probably failed to quite live up to fans over high expectations. He is much larger than many of our other youngsters and always looks immaculate when on the ball. I get the feeling that he is usually in third gear though and rarely contributing to his full potential. He had 19 starts last season scoring 5 goals and getting 2 yellow cards. None of his games were at U18 level and he will certainly be a full member of the U21 squad. If he shows that he is capable of playing to his full potential he will really become a player who it will be a pleasure to watch. Needs to work harder to get there though.
Nathan Tella – English. Will still be an U18 player next season having come up from the U16s. Made all 11 starts at U18 level last season as a winger scoring twice. Will expect to retain that position at the start of the season and try to progress further as the year progresses.
There is real competition for these places at both U21 and U18 levels which bodes well for all of the junior teams next season. Can Edward Nkeitah continue his meteoric rise from last season or will Donnyell Malen or Stephy Mavididi do enough to keep him out of the starting line-up at U21 level? How will all of them cope with the stronger competition of the first division? It will be interesting to see.
It will also be interesting to see if competition from Kelechi Nwakali will cause Jeff Reine-Adelaide to really start producing. I can’t see Kelechi getting much game time with the first team during his initial acclimatisation period and he is likely to feature for the U21s at least at the start of the season despite having a first team squad number.
- The Euros: Is there a way of improving one’s ability to predict match results?
- The eight most outrageous anti-Arsenal stories since yesterday
- Why are flares at a Euro game big news by flares used by fans of English clubs a minor matter?
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page