UEFA Youth League – Arsenal Players and prospects
by Andrew Crawshaw
The UEFA Youth League is a tournament for players who were born on or after 1 January 1996 – i.e they must be younger than 19 on 1 January 2015. The tournament is played between the same 32 clubs that make up the group stage of the 2014-15 Champions League and play matches against the same opponents as the senior teams.
The Arsenal players that have been used so far in the tournament are :-
Taking the players in Squad Number order as that probably gives some idea of their place in the overall pecking order, the lower the number the closer they probably are to a regular place with the first team. Please note this is only a rough guide and shouldn’t be taken literally. This first group have all signed professional contracts with the club.
35 Gedion Zelalem – German youth international. Of the players above, Gedion is probably the most well known. He is a full blown member of the senior squad and has featured in an advanced midfield role with the main team. At U19 level he seems to be used more as a deep lying midfielder a role he seems to be struggling with at times.
He is still slightly built and sometimes seems reluctant to tackle opposing players particularly when they are bigger than him. But he still has a phenomenal ability to play incisive passes and will undoubtedly be a big star in the not too distant future. I just wish he would gain some more muscle.
43 Ryan Huddart – England youth international at U16 and U17 level. He was a mainstay in goal at U18 level last year, very tall with good reflexes he was on the bench for the first team on Wednesday following the injuries to our Szcz and Ospina. Progressing nicely but given the expected longevity of keepers and the ages of those ahead of him probably more likely to make it away from Arsenal.
45 Alex Iwobi – England youth international at U16 and U17 level. A winger, has also been part of the first team squad – he was on the bench for the Capital One Cup victory against West Brom last season. He is a regular in U21 games and signed a professional contract in summer 2014. Still work in progress.
52 Tafari Moore – England youth international at U16 and U17 level. He is a right back and a regular at U21 level, effectively being Hector Bellerin’s understudy. He is a solid player good on the ball and contributes well both defensively and defensively. Definitely has a footballing future – not sure if at Arsenal
55 Julio Pleguezuelo is a centre back who came from Barcelona’s academy. He is not the tallest of central defenders but has good positional sense. His time with Arsenal has been somewhat blighted by injury. Should progress given a run of games.
62 Daniel Crowley is an attacking midfielder of immense talent who will without doubt become a major player with one of the biggest clubs in the world – he has that much potential. He is currently like a cross between Alexis and Wilshere in terms of playing style. Definitely the first Daniel Crowley though rather than the new someone else. Still very young and diminutive in stature which might limit his progression in this country unless the referees are going to deal more harshly with the sort of foul that has blighted Wilshere’s career.
64 George Dobson plays either as CB or DM definitely work in progress at present
70 Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a winger, but can operate in midfield if required and a mainstay of the U21s – England youth international at U17 level. Is called in to train with the first team on occasions. Played in midfield against Dortmund as was very impressive. Definitely one to look out for in the future.
73 Stefan O’Connor – Is English but as yet uncapped at youth level. He is a tall Centre Back and progressing but again work in progress.
The remaining players are Scholars and haven’t yet been offered (or signed) professional contracts yet. As such there is little point in me trying to comment on them individually, try to remember the names for the future though.
To find out more about the younger players and their results you can follow them on Arsenal.com or more comprehensively on Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth website. Jeorge is the ‘go-to’ person for up to date news on the Youth teams (in my opinion) and well worth adding to your Arsenal websites. Here is a link to his site :- Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth The stars of tomorrow, today.
Remember that the U21s play their home games at Meadow Park, Boreham Wood and games are normally free. The FA youth cup game is at Meadow Park on 19 December 19:00 kick-off, again entrance is free. The ground is nice, there is excellent tea and hot dogs etc. in the ground as well. If you can, please go along to support the younger teams.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
Some other sites from the Untold team (there is a full list on the home page)
- WSL Round Up – West Ham v Arsenal Sunday 18:45
- Arsenal lost, but it is all part of the drive toward long-term sustainability
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table