This summer, with most fans pre-occupied by the excitement and fear surrounding the comings and goings of established first teamers, it’s easy to forget those players who are trying to create a foothold for themselves at the top level.
For them, the pre-season is one of the best chances they have to show that they have the technical, mental and physical readiness to participate in the first team when the manager needs different options to call upon.
We have seen in the not too distant past the benefit of such an opportunity to the likes of Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin, and how other promising talent has for one reason or another failed to take advantage, such as Benik Afobe’s serious injury against NYRB or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’s reluctance to bust a gut.
It works for other teams too. Eagle eyed watchers of the Emirate’s Cup seven years ago may have noticed a Lyon debut for a certain Alexandre Lacazette. I was there, and didn’t notice much beyond a decent turn of pace and a good first touch. But then I was more excited about the prospect of the aforementioned JET and the ever-lethal-in-low-priority-games Carlos Vela.
Of course most fans are too busy getting on with their lives to invest too much time in all but the Fabregas/Wilshere level of youngsters, and the second string are not covered in any great detail in the mainstream media.
However, here at Daily Cannon, we all take a rather greater (and perhaps unhealthily obsessive) interest in everything that happens at Arsenal and as such, are always on the lookout for the next home-grown talent.
Since their impressive outings against Sydney FC, we’ve already touched on the prospects of 17 year olds Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, but I wanted to focus on a player closer to the first team who has always managed to fly slightly ‘under the radar’.