Rob Holding has praised Arsenal’s academy prospects, after the young Gunners impressed against West Ham in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash.
Arsenal started the match with just one academy player in the line-up, Joe Willock. However, Wenger also substituted in Reiss Nelson, Josh Dasilva and Ben Sheaf as the game progressed.
Holding told reporters they’d earned their chances, saying: “I think all the young lads, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Eddie [Nketiah], Josh Dasilva and Ben [Sheaf] came on, they all put it in during training and they’ve got some ability so it helps and they fit in.”
Willock put in a solid performance on the night. The 18-year-old made three interceptions, two tackles, created one chance, and achieved 92% pass accuracy.
In a physical match, the youngster also won eight duels and completed four dribbles – no Arsenal player completed more. The statistics show his successful involvement all over the pitch, backing up Holding’s praise.
Although the other three didn’t have much time to prove themselves, they all contributed something. Nelson completed 100% of his dribbles, as well as winning a tackle and a free-kick to buy Arsenal some time.
In a quarter-final, all you want from your young players is for them to do their job and make the most of any opportunities for anything more exciting. Thankfully, that’s just what happened, and Arsenal move onto the next round.