Promising midfielder Gedion Zelalem trained with the Arsenal first-team squad again at London Colney this morning as Arsene Wenger’s side made their final preparations for tomorrow’s Champions League Last 16, 2nd leg tie with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
It is not the first time that Zelalem has trained with the senior side, despite still technically being a schoolboy, and it certainly won’t be the last. The 16 year old, who is eligible to play for Ethiopia but has represented Germany at U15 and U16 levels, is regarded within the club as a prodigious talent, although the coaching staff have been wary not to thrust him into the U18 side at club level owing to some concerns over his slender frame.
Having officially completed his move to the club at the start of the season, Zelalem began the campaign in fine form for the U16s but, as opponents wised up to his technical wizardry, he soon became a target for opposition defenders, with the youngster on the receiving end of several crunching challenges, culminating in a series of niggling injuries that somewhat slowed his progress.
Despite this, it is still likely that Zelalem will make his competitive U18 debut before the end of the season, where he will seek to showcase his undoubted talent prior to the commencement of his scholarship at the start of next season.
In addition to Zelalem, centre-back Ignasi Miquel, who was rested as the U21s beat Southampton at Underhill last night, also took part in the training session this morning, but the Spaniard is unlikely to make the trip to Germany with Kieran Gibbs having recovered from injury.
Jack Wilshere will miss the game with an ankle problem, whilst Bacary Sagna is also out, meaning that Carl Jenkinson will continue at right-back. Abou Diaby, meanwhile, should return to the squad having trained this morning, whilst goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has been left at home, perhaps owing to his poor form of late, and will be replaced by Lukasz Fabianski. Nacho Monreal is ineligible to feature having already played in the Champions League this season for previous club Malaga. Lukas Podolski (ankle) is also out.
subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Arshavin, Coquelin.
Out- Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Monreal, Wilshere, Podolski.