Three Arsenal u23s have had the encouraging honour of receiving senior national call-ups for the upcoming international break.

Daniel Ballard with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Daniel Ballard with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

As covered by Arsenal Youth on Friday, three Arsenal u23s already have senior national call-ups for September.

18-year-old goalkeeper Karl Hein has the chance to join the Estonia squad for their matches against Georgia and Armenia. 20-year-old Daniel Ballard is back in the Northern Ireland squad, after making his senior friendly debut for Arsenal in midweek.

Meanwhile, Dejan Iliev will join up with Macedonia for their Nations League games against Armenia and Georgia. The same two opponents as Estonia, coincidentally. It’s less of a surprise in his case, given he’s 25 years old and makes their squad regularly.

All the same, it’s a success for the Arsenal academy to have so many players with the national teams despite never featuring for the first team in competitive fixtures.

Admittedly, there are mitigating circumstances. Ballard made the squad after Sunderland’s Tom Flanagan had to withdraw for personal reasons. Hein replaced Marko Meerits after the Estonian first-choice had a teammate test positive for coronavirus.

These aren’t exactly ordinary circumstances. But it’s great to see that the two youngsters are so close to the senior side that they’re next in line. If they impress in training over the break, maybe they’ll get further chances soon enough.