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August 2021

Continuing the search for the youngesters who will step up this season


If you think you know your Arsenal, it is time to think again. Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.


By Tony Attwood

Continuing the search for who will be knocking on the door of the first team this coming season, here are the inclusions on the Tour Squad, beyond the obvious first teamers.

  • Vito Mannone
  • Ignasi Miquel
  • Chuks Aneke
  • Thomas Eisfeld
  • Ryo Miyaichi
  • Craig Eastmond
  • Nico Yennaris
  • Benik Afobe
  • Kyle Bartley

Plus the team that started against Boreham Wood in the 3-1 win

Damian Martinez

Kyle Ebecilio; Martin Angha (c); Elton Monteiro; Jernade Meade;

Sead Hajrovic; Conor Henderson; Josh Rees;

Kristoffer Olsson; Chuba Akpom; Sanchez Watt

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Substitutes who played against Boreham Wood

  • James Shea (46)
  • Daniel Boateng (46)
  • Samir Bihmoutine (70)
  • Hector Bellerin (70)
  • Jordan Wynter (46)
  • Anthony Jeffrey (61)
  • Philip Roberts (61)

It is obviously the first list – the fringe players who are going on the tour – who are the most likely to be part of the proceedings in the coming season, with the a few of the Boreham Wood game players making it into the League Cup.

So returning to that first list…

  • Vito Mannone – there has been talk of him going to Hull with Martinez stepping up to at least 3rd choice, but we’ve got our first two keepers going on the tour with Mannone as backup.  Martinez might be disappointed, but it is looking as if he is going to have a season in the reserves unless we have an injury or one of the top three is sold.
  • Ignasi Miquel – the talk has been that he is just about ready and that a loan spell will help.  Certainly with our record in recent years another central defender who can step in is always welcome.  I was very impressed with him in the games he had last season – but then, what do I know?
  • Chuks Aneke.   Pace, power stamina is what you get, a mix of Diaby and Yaya Toure, and the contract extension signed suggests he really is coming on.  Had loan deals with Stevenage and Preston, the latter mostly operating from the bench but coming on in most games.  Has played for England at under 16, 17, 18, and 19.
  • Thomas Eisfeld – a midfielder signed from Borussia Dortmund at the start of the year.  He played in the reserves three times last season, but go injured – but where ever there is talk of him it is talking him up big time.
  • Ryo Miyaichi – so after the loan spells he is with us.  Another loan?  I hope not, and really hope he’s ready for us now.
  • Craig Eastmond.  He has played for us 4 times starting in 2009, Millwall 6 and Wycombe 14.   He played alongside Cesc and Diaby in the midfield against Bolton in 2009, and signed a new long term contract in 2010 and played in the Euro match against Shakhtar Donetsk.  With Frimpong out injured this is probably his “now or never” moment.
  • Nico Yennaris, an England international at under 17, 18 and 19, he has just played once for us and twice on loan.  I suspect another loan out, but the tour place is a statement of intent by the club.
  • Benik Afobe  31 games and 8 goals for Huddersfield (with those four man of the match awards in a row) and 3 for Reading suggest he might be ready for Arsenal now.  He’s also a fixture in the England youth squads in each age range that he qualifies for.  Maybe another loan but I can’t see Arsenal letting him slip away.
  • Kyle Bartley.  He played 24 times for Rangers while they were still in the SPL, but he has sunk from England’s radar of late.  It is hard to judge if playing in the Scottish league is a good preparation for the Premier League in England, but he really needs to show he’s ready now.

So now we wait and see.


10 comments to Continuing the search for the youngesters who will step up this season

  • chris from Cambridge

    Most of them will be moved on. There are only 11 men (plus subs) in a football team and there is the small matter of all the senior players ahead of them – plus more coming in ?

  • Arvind

    Indeed yes. Precisely why we don’t need to buy any more ‘quality’ players either. After all only 11 can play. We can just promote largely from inside and add an odd player here and there.

  • mark

    arvınd ıs rıght. these youth prospects should be gıven preference, even ıf ıts at the expense of players lıke podolskı, who ı thınk wont be as good as mıyaıchı and campbell ın a couple of years tıme. they wıll be the best wıngers and arsenal need to put a lot of tıme ınto them. also, players lıke aneke and afobe, who have been at the club for many years and have been born and lıved ın london, wıll lıkely be loyal to the club. keep them happy. ıt ıs the only way we wıll have success.
    ı have no faıth ın players lıke Toral, who wıll be a great great player, gıvıng everythıng to the club and not returnıng back to theır home countrıes. wılshere, afobe, coquelın, gıbbs, frımpong, these are the guys that arsenals success wıll be buılt around.

  • Sam

    You missed Conor Henderson.
    He was out for a long time with a knee injury..but reports suggest he is a gem…technically superb.Seems he ran the show for the 60 odd minutes he played.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I would look forward to seeing a few of these players, not thrown in at the deep end but bought on in a sensible manner. Aneke especially is one that interests me. A youth policy can be effected at supplementing a team, maybe in the past, we may have taken it a bit too far but looks as though we are getting the balance right.
    On a different note, all those who believe the Sugar Daddy model is the answer to everything, please observe what seems to be going on at Malaga these days. Players have not been payed, some reports suggest we may be hovering to take advantage over at least 1 player.

  • Clint

    @Mandy Dodd – Spot on you hit the nail on the head.

    @Sam – I have a feeling that Conor Henderson will become another David Bentley.

  • robl

    @ Clint, do you think spurs can just give us the 7million now then and save everyone’s time?

    I’d ideally like to see all the travelling squad get a fair crack, but they must be allowed to make their mistakes and learn from them ala the donkey, however we don’t have the luxury of dropping a few league places like Graham and Wengers other predecessors did.

  • What I was trying to do in the list with the bullets was put together a list of the young players who have gone on the Far East tour. I don’t believe Connor did – sorry if I have that wrong.

    For a simple breakdown what I was trying to say was

    Young players going on the Tour are on the way up. Doesn’t mean that they will play for us – they might go on loan – but they are good enough to be mixing it with the big boys.

    The players who played against Boreham Wood are the next group – the elite youngsters, or players on show hoping to move them on. So they are either not ready at this moment to step up, but might be, or their time has gone and visiting scouts are invited to take a look.

    Conner I think is in the Boreham Wood grouping, and is slowly making his way back. Of course during the season he might make it, but at the moment he is not part of the show.

    Although all this is just my interpretation of course.

  • Ong Bing

    Ajax wants to loan Ryo for 1 season. If they guarantee him starting XI, better he goes there. He will gets lots of playing time, maybe some in Champion League.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Very astute analysis Tony and here are a few more things to consider:

    1)Trying out youth,reserve and ¨new¨ players (lans) is a question, not so much of how they do as individuals but how they play together with the senior squad. That means that individuality may NOt be appreciated by AW as much teamwork and integration into the larger team style/strategy…only a manager of Wenger’s experience and skill can determine if it works or not.
    2)The second factor is chemistry. If a player’s attitude and personality conflict with, embarass or irritate the existing squad, then his days are numbered, no matter how much potential and promise he has. Unless he can show that he shares the Arsenal mentality and approach, he’s in for a long hard time. Such sad examples are Adebayor, Anelka, Bentley, Watt, Diarra and Wellington Silva.

    Your observation that the Boreham Woods side is behind the Asian Tour kids is absolutely spot on. You are also right about how these kids will be used. My guess is that the following are required (in addition to the above criteria) in order to make the first team bench:

    a)Humility and pragmatism, drive, desire, willingness to persevere.
    b)International exposure (Club and/or Country).
    c)High performance statistics and consistency.
    d)Wenger has to like your ¨look¨. He said this about Giroud!
    e)Love of the Arsenal and all things Gunnerish.
    f)Potential for resale to non-EPL Clubs or at least to Spuds?
    g)Be French or at least speak it?

    Do players have a certain Arsenal ¨look¨ or ¨style¨…yes. Do some of our current squad not have this look….definitely: Bendtner, Vela, Squillaci, Arshavin, Chamakh?