by Lewis Ambrose
A number of Arsenal youngsters are travelling to Singapore for the Barclays Asia Trophy, and Arsène Wenger says we are likely to see them in action.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, the Arsenal manager said we’ll see plenty of the young players included in the squad. Gedion Zelalem recently impressed for USA at the u20 World Cup and is looking for regular football this season.
Lesser known academy graduates Alex Iwobi and Chris Willock will also feature, as will new signing Jeff Reine-Adelaide. The young Frenchman has joined the club from RC Lens and recently won the u17 European Championships with France.
“It will be a very strong squad,” said Wenger.
“Some players are only coming back on Friday. Most of those will only play in the second game. In the first game, we’ll have the players who have come in last Monday. We’ll have a very strong team.
“You will see Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who we just brought in. We’ll see Chris Willock, Alex Iwobi, Gedion Zelalem and I don’t count Chuba Akpom, who is already with us. We’ll have a few good, young players who have a very good talent and are very promising.”
With Danny Welbeck injured, Olivier Giroud late back to training and Alexis Sánchez still on holiday Akpom could have a great chance to start the season in Wenger’s plans.
The Arsenal manager spoke a little bit more about new signing Reine-Adelaide, who was born the year that Wenger won his first double with the club.
“Adelaide is a player I have identified in France. He just won the European Championship with the under-17s. 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.”
An offensive midfielder capable on either flank but able to develop into a central midfielder. This sounds very much like a number of players Wenger has had in his sides, including current star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
One of the highlights of pre-season is the opportunity of seeing players we don’t usually have the opportunity to watch, and I can’t wait.