Arsenal have registered Zech Medley for their Europa League squad just in time for their clash with FC Vorskla on Thursday night, after concerns he would be ineligible.
To briefly explain the Europa League squad system, you have to register 25 players at the start of the group stage in your main list. In Arsenal’s case, this list consists entirely of senior players.
After that, you can also name 20 extra players on a ‘B list’. These players have to be under the age of 21 and have spent more than 2 years at the club. Essentially, it gives you some extra space for your academy players who can’t fit in the original 25.
Unfortunately for Medley, his signing was announced on 7th December 2016, meaning he didn’t fit the criteria. However, Arsenal have now revealed that they officially signed Medley on November 23rd 2016, they just didn’t announce it until the next month.
Zech Medley can play tomorrow night as he joined on November 23, 2016 – So has just been at the club for two years, which makes him eligible to feature.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) November 28, 2018
As a result, the defender is just about eligible for this match on the 29th November 2018. You can update your B list up to 24 hours before the match, so Arsenal added Medley to the squad yesterday, as you can see here.
With Julio Pleguezuelo, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi all staying back in London, Medley is one of only two dedicated centre-backs who made the trip, along with Rob Holding. As a result, the 18-year-old has a great chance to start the match on Thursday night.
Zech Medley Profile
- Age: 18
- Position: Centre-back
- Youth appearances (2018/19): 7
Captain of the u18s at the start of last season, Medley is making a rapid rise to the first team, becoming a key player for the u23s on the way.
Last season, the defender appeared in 13 of Arsenal’s 22 Premier League 2 matches on the way to the title. This campaign, he’s helped the Gunners keep clean sheets against Blackburn and Liverpool u23s, as well as the Coventry City senior team.
The strong, confident, 6’4″ centre-back has clearly caught his manager’s eye in training, considering he got a first-team squad call-up against Leicester City ahead of a number of other strong defensive options in the academy.
Medley signed his first professional contract with Arsenal in August 2017. At the time, he just talked about cementing a position in the u18 side, but now he could be set for a senior debut just over a year later. When asked about his defensive idols back in 2017, Medley admitted he looks up to Laurent Koscielny.
“I like to watch the defending style of Laurent Koscielny,” Medley said. “His fight, determination, positioning and physical approach are all aspects that I admire and try to absorb into the way I play.”
Let’s hope Medley can put in a Koscielny-style performance on Thursday if called upon.