Zech Medley, Daniel Ballard and Zak Swanson joined the Arsenal first team for training again on Friday, as the Premier League restart approaches.
Zech Medley, Daniel Ballard and Zak Swanson joined the Arsenal first team in training on Friday, not for the first time over the last week or so. The trio, as well as Trae Coyle and Matt Smith, are regularly involved in the sessions since group training started back up again.
It’s unlikely any of the five will make the squad against Manchester City on June 17th. However, after that, their chances will grow stronger with each game.
Arsenal have four away games in quick succession, with City on Wednesday followed by Brighton on the Saturday, Southampton the next Thursday and Sheffield United that Sunday. If the same eleven start all four matches they’ll run themselves ragged.
Arteta will need to rotate, and he might consider calling up some of the younger players to help.
Ballard and Medley are both centre-backs, regulars for the u23s over the last couple of seasons. Ballard went out on loan to Swindon Town this campaign, but an injury forced him back to Arsenal before the January window.
Unlike other loanees (William Saliba and the rest), Ballard’s return pre-January means he should be eligible for senior match action.
Swanson is a right-back, who can also play on the left if necessary. He helped the u18s win the league title last season before his promotion to the u23s this campaign. Under Steve Bould, he had a very consistent season and did well against Leroy Sane recently.
Smith was also part of that u18 title-winning side, playing every single minute of the season. The midfielder is a strong passer playing deep in midfield. Finally, Coyle can play on either wing, and he had five goal contributions in 15 appearances this season.
If I had to guess, Ballard is probably the closest to establishing himself in senior football. He’s one of the leaders in the u23 side and even got a couple of international call-ups with Northern Ireland. We’ll see how things play out, though.