The future is looking bright, to say the least – By Luke Shephard
The recent news that Serge Gnabry, the fantastic German winger, was travelling with the Arsenal squad to face Koln has made me think. How much young talent actually is there at Arsenal? I mean, there has always been people saying “The future looks bright for Arsenal” as they always appear to have a bunch of young players pushing for places in the first team, but the numbers of young players now is just ridiculous.
I’m going to start with the obvious, more well known young talents in the Arsenal first team (some are obviously more talented than others, but all talented). They are:- Scezesny, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Bartley, Miquel, Coquelin, Frimpong, Ramsey, Wilshere, Lansbury, Miyaichi, Oxlade-Chamberlain. Now let me start by saying that only 2 of these players, in my opinion, would be guarenteed starters if they were healthy, Scezesny and Wilshere. The likes of Gibbs, Ramsey, Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain all belong in the next bracket, the ones who challenge for a starting spot, but would do not always get it. Then for me, the rest are all good/decent squad players, who have raw potential to become excellent players. Note that not all of these would be in the first team squad, as some are likely to be shipped out on loan to gain valuable playing time.
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The next list of players are the ones who play mostly in the reserves or out on loan, but have shown that they could be more than capable of playing in the first team in the future. Here they are: Martinez, Yennaris, Boateng, Eisfield, Henderson, Gnarby, Ansah, Afobe, Campbell. Then there are the even younger players who have shown potential. The likes of Jack Jebb, Chuka Akpom and Kristoffer Olsson fit into this bracket. I’m sure I have missed some players, as there is so many.
Now that i’ve given the full list of young players who I believe have talent, let me go into more detail. The most advanced of these young players is no doubt, in my mind, Jack Wilshere. Although last season he was injured, and there are worries if he will return the same player, there is no doubting that he proved himself to be one of the most promising young players in Europe, if not the world.
I must be honest though and say I do not have the same confidence in Scezesny. He has been prone to making mistakes, but then again, he is at a very, very young age for a goalkeeper. He also has confidence and is very vocal in between the posts, which will always hold him in good stead. I sure do hope he proves me wrong, but I just do not see him in the same class as past Arsenal keepers David Seaman and Jens Lehmann. But then again, he is an upgrade on Fabianski…
If Gibbs can stay injury free, I see him being the new Ashley Cole, I honestly do. He needs to work on his defensive side of the game, but that will improve with experience. Ramsey has not been the same player since his year long injury, but he is showing signs of getting back to his best form. The Welshman certainly does have the potential. Coquelin has put in some impressive performances, namely last seasons defeat at White Hart Lane, he really impressed me. Composed on the ball and rarely gives fouls away. A true defensive talent with real talent. His versatility to play at full back also gives him an advantage over other players, as he will most likely see more game time because of that versatility.
Oxlade-Chamberlain. What can I say about him thats not already been said? Despite being an 18 year old with no top flight experience, he played last season like he had been playing in the Premiership for a decade. For such a young player, he shows very little fear and is never afraid to run at full backs and force them to commit into tackles. Physically, he is suited to the Premiership. Despite being small and fast, he is stocky and has the strength to hold off most players. Also blessed with a good range of passing and an eye of goal, I see him being the next big thing in English football.
Jenkinson is a very raw talent, but has potential and is physically suited. Bartley needs to work on the amount of fouls he gives away, but can be a good squad player for years to come. The only critism I have of Miquel is his size. I’m not sure he could defend well against players like Carroll and Ba. Could see him getting bullied, but then again, Puyol is only 5 foot 11 inches. Frimpong just needs to knuckle down and stop being such a controversy. Lansbury has not really impressed me too much if I’m honest, but then again, he has performed on the international stage incredibly. Miyaichi is impressive. Very, very fast and his decision making his excellent for such a young player. Needs game time to develop though.
The recent tour to Asia has brought a few players to my attention. Those being Aneke, Eisfield, Yennaris and Afobe, the most impressive being Eisfield. When he was signed on the last day of the January transfer window, everyone (including me) wondered why we was signing another young player, didn’t we have enough? Well how we were wrong. After impressing for the reserves and Lansbury pulling out of the tour due to injury, Eisfield was told that he would be travelling to Asia. It was his time to impress and impress he did, scoring two goals in three substitute appearances and showing of his playmaking talent. The thing I was most impressed with was his movement around the box. He was always there just waiting to pounce and that he did, both of his goals being pretty much tap ins. Aneke also impressed, reminding everyone of his undoubted talent. The way he travelled long distances on the pitch reminded me of Yaya Toure. Not bad really. He also got a deflected goal for his hard work. Although Afobe didn’t get on the scoresheet like the other two, he proved to be a nuisance for the oppisitions defence and made some impressive runs. Yennaris also put in a good shift at right back, grabbing an assist for his attacking play.
Then there is the even younger players. Although I have never seen Jack Jebb play, all he ever seems to get is praise. A centre midfielder, he has a good range of passing and is also a free kick specialist. Chuka Akpom is a fast, powerful striker and I expect a bright future for him. Kristoffer Olsson impressed me during the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup in pre season, showing off his sublime passing and vision.
So judging on that, Arsenal have a lot of young, talented players waiting for there chance to shine. Obviously not everyone will reach there potential, but with so many with such a massive potential, expect to see some of them in the starting 11 in the future. I may have left out a few players or not gone into detail about some of the players I mentioned, but there is a lot of players to discuss, so sorry if I didn’t discuss a player that you personally like.
If you have got this far into this long, long article, I would like to say well done for reading all of that and thank you for taking the time to read it. Remember to leave a comment, telling me you’re thoughts about the subject. Also, please follow on twitter @LukeShephardAFC! God bless you all.