Steve Bould says it’s great to have Tyreece John-Jules back for the Arsenal u23s, both to play alongside Folarin Balogun but also to provide competition for his fellow striker.
As we exclusively reported in September, John-Jules picked up a hamstring injury in training that left him sidelined for a month.
Right on cue, the striker made his return to the pitch from the bench against Manchester City on Saturday, the first game after that month was complete. He almost managed to find Arsenal a late winning goal as well, but it wasn’t to be.
Steve Bould was clearly pleased to have the striker involved again all the same.
“It’s a major bonus for us to have him back, the kid can play,” Steve Bould told Arsenal.com. “He’s a good footballer whether he plays at nine or 10 and he gives us options.
“We can play two up front at times and him and Flo (Balogun) have to compete for that one spot up front sometimes. It’s good to have more of a competition between players so it’s major plus for us to have him back.”
The u23s have struggled somewhat with the promotion of various players this season. They’ve lost Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka to the first team permanently, Xavier Amaechi to Hamburg, Daniel Ballard, Dejan Iliev and Jordi Osei-Tutu to loan spells, and so on.
The high turnover of players has resulted in some inconsistent performances, but until John-Jules injury, he and Balogun were the two players consistently performing and pulling the side through games.
In that sense, the duo had drawn comparisons with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in the first team. In the two games directly before John-Jules’ injury, he was assisted by Balogun twice and assisted his strike partner twice in return.
As a result, losing one of the two was a big blow, but thankfully they’re back together in time for the u23s’ North London derby this Friday.