Three of Arsenal’s most promising teenage talents started as England kicked-off their u17 World Cup bid in Chile on Saturday evening.
Chris Willock has been named vice-captain of the team and was joined by forwards Stephy Mavididi and Kaylen Hinds in the game against Guinea.
A tight first half saw plenty of promising moments from Willock, who was usually found on the left wing. The Arsenal man consistently beat his man with a good mixture of pace and close control, and was one of England’s most dangerous players. Tottenham midfielder Marcus Edwards won a penalty, but had his effort saved as England’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes went begging.
Shortly after the break, Mavididi showed excellent control to bring down a long pass and round the goalkeeper, but couldn’t give England the lead. He would have, but the onrushing keeper brought him down and – amazingly – was only shown a yellow card.
Guinea were strong, certainly opponents not to be underestimated, but Arsenal’s youngsters combined to give the Three Lions the lead after an hour.
Mavididi played the ball to Willock, who continued to threaten down the left wing. After making space for himself, Willock put in a smart cross which was attacked and headed home by Hinds. England led with a goal very much made in north London.
Kaylen Hinds gives England U17 a 1-0 lead vs Guinea. Willock assist, Arsenal pairing. https://t.co/6RIgPbCcau
— Harry Robinson (@HarryRobinson64) October 17, 2015
Hinds was substituted shortly after, and Guinea responded with an equaliser. As England searched for a winner, the next substitution saw Mavididi make way, but the lead wasn’t restored.
A draw isn’t a bad way to start but it is frustrating after going ahead against a Guinea side which should have had a man sent off.
Hopefully our boys stay in the competition as long as possible, though Arsenal will miss them in the UEFA Youth League clash against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.