With the season gradually approaching its climax at youth level, it’s almost decision time for Arsenal in regards to which youngsters should be offered scholarship deals for next season.
Trae Coyle seems set to earn a scholarship contract, given his impressive development over the past twelve months. Coupled with the way he settled in seamlessly when called upon to feature in UEFA Youth League and amongst the u18 group this season, this seems a lock.
The exciting winger, who turned 16 earlier in this month, is highly regarded and great things are expected of him after a memorable 2016 on a personal level.
In terms of defensive prospects within this age-group, there are a number of players battling for deals. Mark McGuinness is one of few that have appeared in an u18 matchday squad for Kwame Ampadu’s side this season thus far. The tall centre-back is expected to earn a scholarship deal too, but it could prove harder to come by for Joshua Dawodu, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Matthew Smith, Shae Hutchinson and Bayli Spencer-Adams – all of whom could be competing against each other as the Young Guns have strengthened defensively in recent months.
Xavier Amaechi is just under a week older than Coyle and the attack-minded midfielder will be expecting to attain the same success as his teammate with an extended contract, but there are a number of other players within the u16 squad who’ll be hoping they are among the chosen ones too.
Folarin Balogun, Harrison Clarke, James Olayinka, Joshua Rusoke, Zak Swanson and Jayden Onen are all talented midfielders in their own right and will be aiming to maintain consistent performance levels at youth level until the end of the campaign.
Tyreece John-Jules has already been billed as Arsenal’s one and only striker that is set for a scholarship deal, as there isn’t much depth at u18 level currently and the 16-year-old has shown his ability to lead the line in the current age-group. Having made his international debut at u16 level back in August, big things are expected of the forward and there’s no doubt a scholarship deal will prove effective motivation for him to continue working hard. His sights should be set on featuring regularly at u18 level next.
In goal, meanwhile, either Daniel Barden or Arthur Okonkwo should pick up a contract with Barden tipped as the one most likely.
There’s definitely plenty of tough decisions to make, especially given the fact that there is an opportunity for the club to offer deals to players from other clubs – something that we saw with Chelsea’s Zech Medley at the start of December following a successful trial period.
Source: Arsenal Youth