Arsenal’s u19 side were victorious in the Durban u19 International Tournament on Saturday.
A late, brilliant, individual effort from Yassin Fortune killed off the final against Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven with the scoreline finishing 2-1 in favour of the young Gunners.
The 16-year-old attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wing or as a striker, joined Arsenal alongside Jeff-Reine Adelaide in a £3m deal from Lens after the conclusion of the 2014/15 campaign.
Steve Gatting’s youngsters had boasted an encouraging record in the tournament ahead of the final, and although they were beaten last Sunday by PSV in the group stages, they progressed through to the semi-finals before beating VfB Stuttgart on penalty-kicks to book their place in the showpiece.
The deadlock was broken in some style, with Ben Sheaf’s powerful effort from 20 yards out flying goalwards and out of the keeper’s reach before flying into the top corner of the net.
Despite the Dutch opposition equalising after the interval, Fortune capped off an excellent competition, for him personally, as he drifted past his marker on the edge of the box with a neat nutmeg before bursting, at pace, towards the near post and firing low beyond the goalkeeper.
Any piece of silverware is always nice, especially at youth level with plenty of the players sure to have gained great experience in South Africa – which is ultimately a learning curve.
It’s also worth noting that Arsenal did well without the eyecatching talents of Tafari Moore, Krystian Bielik, Dan Crowley, Chris Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
With the UEFA Youth League set to start in September, and the season beginning next weekend, it’ll be interesting to see how the young Guns fare.