Arsenal youngster Ruby Mace moved to Birmingham City on loan in January, so how is she doing?
The 17-year-old has been thrown at the deep end at centre-back, replacing the experienced Rachel Corsie, who had finished her loan. Mace has started and played the five games she has been available to play, totalling up 450 minutes so far.
It has to be said, Mace has been superb so far and showed maturity beyond her age. There is no doubt that this loan is a very good deal for all three parties, Arsenal, Birmingham and the young player who gets plenty of game time and to learn in a tough environment.
I have noticed that the coaching staff at Birmingham are very vocal, especially the assistant coach, and he is always there to give directions to the players along with tips. Birmingham rate Mace very highly.
“If I’m Arsenal tonight, I’m excited after watching that,” said Birmingham head coach, Carla Ward. “She was outstanding today and looked like she’d been there for years. She’s a very talented individual that will go very far in the game.”
Joe Montemurro is also an admirer of the youngster and expect her to have a great future at the club:
“I’m not taking away from the other academy girls but Ruby is a special one and she’s someone that I believe has a little bit more and will adapt quickly to becoming a first team player here at Arsenal.”
Below is the touch map from a recent game where Ruby played as a left centre-back alongside Georgia Brougham, until the Blues switched to a back three, allowing Ruby to go forward a lot more, as seen with her touches on the left wing.
Mace had one touch in the opposition penalty area in the last minute of the game where she scored her first FA WSL goal as the equaliser. It is quite interesting that she was forward of her left wing-back, Rebecca Holloway, and it explains the lack of marking from West Ham.
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Mace’s overall defensive performance was satisfactory, although Blues had a tough day defending under the pressure of long balls and crosses from West Ham. Some of them managed to get between the two centre-back and second balls were also a problem at times.
What is impressive is Mace’s maturity on the pitch, as you would not know how young she is just by observing her. She is also technically proficient and has a very good passing ability.
Arsenal can you look forward to seeing her next season as a player who might be ready to compete fully for a first team place in midfield despite her tender age.