Tyreece John-Jules, James Olayinka and Robbie Burton could make their Arsenal debuts on Thursday, joining the first-team squad in Liege.

Robbie Burton, Calum Chambers, Emile Smith Rowe and Zech Medley ahead of the match against Standard Liege (Photo via Facebook)
Robbie Burton, Calum Chambers, Emile Smith Rowe and Zech Medley ahead of the match against Standard Liege (Photo via Facebook)

The squad travelled to Belgium on Wednesday ahead of their final group stage game in the Europa League. There were a few surprise additions to the senior ranks, with three players who have never played a competitive minute for Arsenal making the trip for potential debuts.

Tyreece John-Jules

John-Jules made a non-competitive debut for Arsenal in March, scoring the winner against Al-Nasr Dubai SC. The striker has also made the senior squad twice before, against Vorskla and Qarabag in last season’s competition, but he didn’t get onto the pitch.

The 18-year-old has six goals and two assists for the u23s this season, despite often dropping into a number 10 role to accommodate Folarin Balogun in the team. He also racked up a hat-trick of assists for England u19s in the last international break.

The teenager was set for a debut against Nottingham Forest earlier this season before a poorly-timed injury. He’s a goal threat with strong hold-up play and an excellent work rate.

James Olayinka

This is Olayinka’s first appearance in a competitive senior squad, assuming he does make the final 18. The midfielder featured in pre-season and scored against the Colorado Rapids, but injury problems held him back in the opening stages of the season.

The 19-year-old is up to five appearances for the u23s this season. He scored against Northampton Town’s senior side in the EFL Trophy before his injury.

Olayinka is a central midfielder who can also play on the right if necessary.

Robbie Burton

Burton did make the squad against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup, but that was his first squad appearance. The 19-year-old is a regular for the u23s, often captaining the side, and he also plays for the Wales u21s.

The central midfielder is up to 14 appearances for the u23s this season, scoring three goals. Most recently, he netted the opener in a win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite getting on the scoresheet a few times, Burton tends to play a deeper role in midfield, usually as part of a sitting pair. He’s at his best when he finds any kind of space to play forward passes and he doesn’t shy away from a confrontation.

Other Youngsters

Emile Smith Rowe and Zech Medley both travelled, with Smith Rowe likely to fill in at central midfield whilst Medley may well get a start at left-back. The centre-back has experience on the left and Arsenal’s full-back options are dwindling.

Bukayo Saka is also on the trip. Of course, all three teenagers have already played for the first team in competitive matches before.