Arsenal are reportedly set to end Miguel Azeez’s loan spell with Portsmouth after a disappointing first half of the season.
When Miguel Azeez headed off on loan to Portsmouth, there was much excitement in the Arsenal fanbase at the thought of watching him play regularly.
Alas, his time there has not gone well and The News in Portsmouth report that his loan is set to be terminated with Arsenal recalling the player due to a lack of minutes.
Azeez has made just 10 appearances for Pompey, a total of 653 minutes, scoring one goal and assisting another. He made just five starts in League One.
Just last month, Azeez’s progress was being praised by the Portsmouth manager.
The 19-year-old Arsenal loanee took a while to break into the Portsmouth team under Danny Cowley, and, in November, there were even suggestions he might be recalled in January.
Cowley himself always seemed confident that the loan was going well, however, and that Arsenal were happy with Azeez’s progress.
The manager’s words seemed to be bearing fruit, as Azeez then made it into the starting lineup, and provided an assist in Portsmouth’s win over Morecambe FC.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Cowley assessed the midfielder’s situation, insisting it’s a learning experience for him.
“For Miguel, it’s his first loan,” Cowley said. “He is gaining experience by the day and it’s been a brilliant stepping stone for him in his education.
“This is what young players need. They need to be exposed to first-team football.
“A lot of these elite young players have only known success after success because they were often the best players in their youth careers and in age-group football.
“It’s great for them to come out on loan into senior football for the first time where they don’t always get it all their own way. It develops their coping strategies and their resilience to go on and really push on in their careers.”
Azeez needed to show some patience this season, but Cowley said he had now earned his spot in the side, and that he has the capacity for a big future.
What has changed between this interview and now is not yet clear.
“His technical ability and his athleticism will give him every opportunity to have a great career,” Cowley continued.
“He’s done really, really well. He’s another one who is incredibly driven, with an outstanding level of focus and he’s a student of the game.
“He always wants to learn, develop and improve. He’s fought his way into the team, and good on him.”
If Azeez comes away from this experience with a greater understanding of the importance of being patient, of working to get your chance, and of taking it when it comes, it will arguably be more of a boost to his career than just playing lots of games.
He’ll have to do the same thing at Arsenal eventually, so Cowley may well have been giving him the perfect preparation for that future battle.
With a recall now said to be imminent, I guess we just wait and see what happens with his next loan spell.