On Tuesday, Arsenal’s u18s won 5-1 against Colchester United to qualify for the FA Youth Cup semi-final, but which of the youngsters could someday make the first team?
There’s no doubting that the Arsenal academy have a load of promising players coming through. We all know about the likes of Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock in the u23s, but the next level down is offering just as much excitement.
Arsene Wenger told Arsenal Player on Tuesday: “I’m convinced that in the next two or three years, Arsenal will have a lot of satisfaction on [the academy] front. I’m convinced that the way for Arsenal to come back to fight for the Premier League is to rely on a core of young player to come out of our football club.”
So which of the youngsters involved in the cup run are most likely to knock on the door of the first team?
1Emile Smith Rowe
- Age: 17
- Position: Left Midfield/Left Wing/Central Midfield
Smith Rowe is one of the most promising players in the u18s at the moment, so much so that he’s actually made almost as many appearances for the u23s this season, despite his age.
The Croydon-born youngster joined the Hale End Academy in 2010, aged nine.
He has an eye for goal, but is also a good creator and a tricky dribbler. At the moment Reiss Nelson, a year older, is ahead of him in terms of first-team opportunities.
If Smith Rowe keeps up his performances though, it won’t be long until he gets a chance.
The winger got a taste of success with the England u17s in 2017, winning the World Cup in October. He appeared three times in the competition, scoring once and providing an assist in the semi-final.
- Premier League 2 (u23s): 7 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists.
- U18 Premier League: 5 appearances, 3 goals.
- FA Youth Cup: 4 appearances, 3 goals, 2 assists.
- Overall: 16 appearances, 7 goals, 4 assists.