Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand got his first chance in an Arsenal first-team squad on Tuesday, and Mikel Arteta explained why afterwards.
Arsenal 18-year-old midfielder Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand received a late call-up to the first-team squad for their League Cup last-16 match on Tuesday night.
Initially, reports suggested Mikel Arteta was likely to name a full squad of senior players for the match. However, Oulad M’hand was then called up, perhaps partly as a result of Martin Odegaard’s injury absence.
When asked about the thinking behind the decision after the game, Arteta said it was a well-deserved opportunity.
“[We are] rewarding him – for what he does every day in training and the games that he’s playing, for his attitude and the quality he has – he totally deserves to be with us,” Arteta told the media.
Oulad M’hand didn’t get a chance to feature this time around, with a couple of injury setbacks forcing Arteta’s hand with his substitutions. But it’s a step forward for the youngster even to join the squad for a game.
The young midfielder has arguably been the Arsenal u23s’ standout player for the last month or so. He’s scored four goals and provided one assist in his last five games, including a 25-yard curler against the Premier League 2 leaders Manchester City.
But he has to supplement that with the right attitude and application in training on a daily basis, and it sounds like he’s doing just that. Further chances are sure to come along with time.