Arsenal swooped to sign defender Anton Blackwood from Northampton Town last summer, after Liam Brady was impressed after seeing him in action for the League One side’s youth teams. He signed scholarship terms in the summer, and I for one was very suprised. We already had Abu Ogogo at the club, and Paul Rodgers can play there too. In addition, Craig Eastmond also became a scholar at the same time and was immediately ahead of Anton in the pecking order. No sooner had Anton joined the club, he picked up an injury which ruled him out for the first couple months of the season. Whilst he was on the sidelines, Anton watched on as Craig Eastmond excelled in his position and earned rave reviews from Steve Bould. Not to be disheartened, Anton won his place for the u-18s game with Portsmouth and helped the Gunners to keep a clean sheet, before being substituted towards the end. He was also part of a makeshift Reserve side that lost to Reading at Underhill in October. Up against the likes of Leroy Lita, and with inexperienced players such as Luke Ayling alongside him, Anton knuckled down and made some bombarding runs down the right flank. It seemed he had settled at the club and was beginning to find his feet.
However, he failed to hold down a regular place in the u-18s before Christmas. However, he returned to play in two consective games in January, with Eastmond being employed in midfield. His rugged all-action display caught the eye of viewers as he showed why Liam Brady was so keen to sign him. Then, after suffering from a lack of fitness, he was dropped to the bench for the next game before picking up another injury. Since then, Arsenal have been experimenting with different options for the right-back position, with Eastmond, Ogogo and Paul Rodgers all playing there in recent weeks.
His first year as a scholar has been halted by injuries, and he may have to settle for a place on the bench for the rest of this season, but one things for sure, by the time next season rolls around, Anton will be fit, determined and ready to go.