Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Josh Dasilva all featured for Arsenal on Wednesday night, and Arsene Wenger believes they’ve learned about the intensity of senior football and how there’s no room for error.
Nelson was handed his first start for the club, having made his debut off the bench against Cologne in the Europa League, while Willock and Dasilva made their debuts as second half substitutes against Doncaster.
Arsenal made hard work of the game, with the youngsters struggling to impose themselves on the League 1 side. Speaking after the game, Arsene Wenger explained how the youngsters could learn from the performance.
“[They’ll have found out about] the intensity of the game,” he told Arsenal Player. “That the quality of the decision-making has to be spot on, and especially the quality of your concentration.
“They showed all qualities but sometimes they were surprised by a lack of concentration. At that level, you cannot afford that. Overall, there are positives in it because they’ve shown a good level, but tactically they still have to adjust to the intensity of that.”
It was extra challenging for our young players as they were all fielded out of position.
Nelson, normally a winger, played as a right wing-back. Dasilva, a midfielder who has played as a left wing-back for the u23s this season, came on to fill in at centre back. Then Willock came on in the second half to replace Nelson at right wing-back, despite normally being an attacking midfielder.
That they made some mistakes shouldn’t be too much of a surprise in my opinion. The trio will now be looking forward to playing against Norwich City in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.