Xavier Amaechi received his first senior call-up for Arsenal on Thursday, for the club’s mid-season trip to Dubai, but it could’ve come much earlier if his luck had been different.
After a strong 2017/18 campaign, spending time with both the u18s and the u23s, Amaechi had earned a reputation as one of the biggest youth talents at the club. He was ready to play his first full u23 season, and with Reiss Nelson going on loan to Hoffenheim, there was even a hint first-team opportunities could follow.
He began August in excellent form, scoring once and assisting three in four games, before suffering a fracture that would keep him out until late December. The likes of Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka got the League Cup and Europa League chances instead, and Amaechi just had to wait until he was fit again.
Then, in January, the 18-year-old returned with a bang. He scored three goals, assisted two and won a couple of penalties in his first seven games back, consistently looking like one of the most dangerous players on the pitch. Bayern Munich even showed an interest in him.
Unfortunately, there just weren’t any first-team games where Unai Emery could afford to risk giving Amaechi a debut.
That could change next week, as Arsenal play their mid-season friendly against Al-Nasr Dubai SC. We’ll see if the winger gets a chance alongside senior professionals like Mesut Özil and Alexandre Lacazette.