Injuries are a common occurrence in a physical sport such as football and can seriously hamper development at youth level, something that right-back Jordi Osei-Tutu is thankful to not have experience of.
The 18-year-old has reflected on his 2016, saying that it had gone “really well” on a personal level as he has been able to keep improving and avoid injuries too.
The talented teenager of Ghanaian descent, signed his first professional contract with Arsenal in October of 2015 and has relished the challenge that comes with improving the defensive side of his game as an attack-minded fullback.
“To make myself the best right back I can be, I’ve worked a lot on my heading in the last year, one-on-ones, passing and I feel I have improved and that has given me more confidence which has helped my improvement,” Osei-Tutu said.
He also revealed the benefits that come with the UEFA Youth League squad travelling to-and-from matches with the first-team players.
“Being around them you see how they prepare, how they stay focused but relaxed at the same time.”
A teenager with an abundance of acceleration and impressive flashes of skill, Osei-Tutu can unsurprisingly operate as a more attack-minded midfielder when required and spoke about how he’s often up against Alex Iwobi during training games when he goes up to train with the senior squad.
“He [Iwobi] is unusual in his style and while I have played with and trained with him a lot when he was on the rise to the first-team, he has improved tremendously over the last year,” Osei-Tutu revealed.
“My pace is normally enough to help me deal with speedy wingers, but with Alex you have to have a different approach,” he continued. “He has fantastic close control and is clever in the way he exploits any mistake so you have to be concentrated, stay on your feet, slow him down and block off all avenues. It’s a very helpful learning process.”
An Arsenal supporter from his childhood, he said the greatest moment of his career was signing professional terms with the Gunners and also highlighted crossing as the main area of his game he needs to improve as the teenager eyes a regular starting berth in Arsenal’s u23 side over the coming months as an effective way to get closer towards a dream senior debut.