After completing his loan move to Arsenal last week, James Hillson has been given the number 68 shirt for the remainder of the campaign.
The Arsenal academy added Hillson to their ranks last week, to help solve a problem created by a number of transfers and injuries over the winter. U18 Goalkeeper Karl Hein fell injured, Daniel Barden left for Norwich City, and Emi Martinez went on loan to Reading, meaning a step up in responsibility for Deyan Iliev.
That left the two first team goalkeepers (Petr Cech and Bernd Leno), one u23 goalkeeper (Deyan Iliev), and one u18 goalkeeper (Arthur Okonkwo). There are technically a couple of other options at u18 level, with 15-year-old Hubert Graczyk and Tom Smith on the books, but neither have been trusted to make an appearance yet this season.
As a result, 18-year-old Hillson will take over as the backup to Okonkwo, and he’s been given the number 68, according to Arsenal Youth Expert Jeorge Bird:
— Jeorge Bird (@jeorgebird) February 11, 2019
Unfortunately, Arsenal crashed out of the FA Youth Cup against West Bromwich Albion over the weekend, so the u18s are only left fighting on one front: The u18 Premier League.
There’s still everything to play for in that final remaining competition though, as the young Arsenal side sit just two points off Tottenham Hotspur in first place. Let’s hope they can end the season in top spot.