Versatile youngster Alfred Mugabo is yet to secure a professional contract at the club as he enters the second year of his scholarship, but the 17 year old is already a senior international footballer after making his debut for Rwanda in their 2014 World Cup qualifier with Algeria yesterday.
Algeria may have prevailed with a 1-0 victory, but it was still a momentous occasion for Mugabo, who entered the fray as a 54th minute substitute. The Hale End product has been deployed in numerous positions at club level, having played at right-back, centre-back and in central-midfield, whilst his previous representation for his country came as a winger in the 2011 U17 World Cup.
Mugabo made 18 appearances for Arsenal’s U18s last season, and also made a handful of outings for the U21s and in the NextGen Series. He will aim to earn a professional contract during the next campaign.
Mugabo’s cap sees him become the 28th current international on Arsenal’s books, with Mikel Arteta, Vito Mannone and Francis Coquelin (all of whom have been capped by their countries at youth level) the only members of the first-team squad yet to receive a senior call-up.
Current Arsenal internationals:
Lukas Podolski – Germany- (110 caps, 46 goals), Tomas Rosicky- Czech Republic- (91 caps- 20 goals), Per Mertesacker- Germany- (90 caps, 2 goals), Marouane Chamakh- Morocco- (63 caps, 17 goals), Ju-Young Park- South Korea- (61 caps, 25 goals), Nicklas Bendtner- Denmark- (55 caps, 22 goals), Santi Cazorla- Spain- (55 caps, 9 goals), Gervinho- Ivory Coast- (45 caps, 13 goals), Thomas Vermaelen- Belgium- (42 caps, 1 goal), Johan Djourou- Switzerland- (40 caps, 1 goal), Bacary Sagna- France- (34 caps), Theo Walcott- England- (33 caps, 4 goals), Aaron Ramsey- Wales- (26 caps, 6 goals), Joel Campbell- Costa Rica- (24 caps, 7 goals), Andre Santos- Brazil- (24 caps), Lukasz Fabianski- Poland- (21 caps), Oliver Giroud- France- (19 caps, 3 goals), Abou Diaby- France- (16 caps, 1 goal), Wojciech Szczesny- Poland- (13 caps), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain- England- (12 caps, 3 goals), Nacho Monreal- Spain- (12 caps), Laurent Koscielny- France- (10 caps), Jack Wilshere- England- (7 caps), Samuel Galindo-Bolivia- (2 caps), Kieran Gibbs- England- (2 caps), Ryo-Japan- (2 caps), Carl Jenkinson- England- (1 cap), Emmanuel Frimpong- Ghana- (1 cap), Alfred Mugabo- Rwanda- (1 cap).
Youth internationals: (not including those with full caps)- refers to highest level the player has been capped at.
Benik Afobe- England- U21, Deyan Iliev- Macedonia- U21, Ignasi Miquel- Spain- U21, Damian Martinez- Argentina- U20, Chuba Akpom- England- U19, Chuks Aneke- England- U19, Hector Bellerin- Spain- U19, Kristoffer Olsson- Sweden- U19, Nico Yennaris- England- U19, Serge Gnabry- Germany- U18, Isaac Hayden- England- U18, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill- England- U18, Glen Kamara- Finland- U19, Zak Ansah- England- U17 (has switched allegiance to Ghana), Jack Jebb- England- U17, Austin Lipman- England- U17, Jon Toral- Spain- U17, Wellington- Brazil- U17, Alex Iwobi- England- U17, Elliot Wright- England- U17, Dan Crowley- England- U17, Gedion Zelalem- Germany- U16, Ryan Huddart- England- U16, Tafari Moore- England- U16, Jamaal Raage- Sweden- U15.
Kieran Gibbs found himself in familiar surroundings yesterday as he trained with his England U-21 teammates at London Colney ahead of today’s UEFA u-21 European Championships warm-up match with Azerbaijan at Stadiummk.
Gibbs is set to be the first-choice left-back for the Three Lions throughout the tournament and will start tonight as Stuart Pearce makes his final decisions before the tournament kicks off in Sweden a week today.
England are in Group A and will face Finland, Germany and Spain, with Bojan Krcic of Barcelona amongst the Spanish ranks. Group B, meanwhile, consists of the hosts Sweden along with Belarus, Italy and Serbia.
Theo Walcott and James Milner will not feature in tonight’s game as they are with the senior side ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra at Wembley.
Predicted team for England U21 v Azerbaijan U21 [Tonight, 7.45pm]
Meanwhile, Pearce has refused to back down to Arsene Wenger’s commands concerning Theo Walcott. The winger played 45 minutes for the senior side in Almaty against Kazakhstan on Saturday and could feature again against Andorra on Wednesday night.
That will not stop Pearce naming him in his starting line-up for the U-21 tournament in Sweden. Pearce said:
‘I beg to disagree with Arsene. I respect his views but Theo and I want to try and win the European Championships.’
England squad for 2009 UEFA u-21 European Championships in Sweden:
Joe Hart (Manchester City), Joe Lewis (Peterborough United), Scott Loach (Watford)
Martin Cranie (Portsmouth), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Michael Mancienne (Chelsea), Nedum Onuoha (Manchester City), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Andrew Taylor (Middlesbrough), Richard Stearman (Wolverhampton Wanderers), James Tomkins (West Ham United)
Lee Cattermole (Wigan Athletic), Andrew Driver (Hearts), Craig Gardner (Aston Villa), Adam Johnson (Middlesbrough), James Milner (Aston Villa), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers), Mark Noble (West Ham United), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur)
Theo Walcott (Arsenal) Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Fraizer Campbell (Manchester United)
Pedro Botelh0- Salamanca 1 Zaragoza 3
After missing out last week through suspension, Pedro Botelho returned to action to take his place amongst the Salamanca substitutes for the penultimate home game of the season against Zaragoza.
With their slim homes of acheiving promotion to La Liga recently diminished, Los Charros had little to play for so it was no suprise when they fell behind to a Ewerthon strike with less than 120 seconds on the clock.
Zaragoza are still in with a shout of edging out Xerez at the top of the table and doubled their lead when the classy Ewerthon struck again after 11 minutes.
Quique Martin gave Salamanca hope of making a dramatic comeback when he pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, but Jorge Lopez struck ten minutes from time to seal victory for the visitors and leave Arsenal’s Spanish link club in seventh place.
Pedro replaced Rodri with 14 minutes left but had little time to make an impact on proceedings. The final two games of the campaign, against Murcia and Hércules, are expected to be the Brazilian’s final games for Salamanca before a decision on his immediate future is made in the summer.
In other loanees news, Havard Nordtveit is likely to start at centre-back for Lillestrom tonight as they take on Fredrikstad in the Tippeligaen.
Aaron Ramsey- Azerbaijan 0 Wales 1
Wales’ hopes of qualifying for next summer’s showpiece in South Africa are as good as gone, but they showed that the future looks bright as John Toshack’s brave young side beat Azerbaijan 1-0 in a World Cup 2010 qualifier.
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey started as part of a three-man midfield and impressed throughout, pulling the strings in the centre of the park.
A goal from Dave Edwards three minutes before the break ensured victory for Wales.
Nacer Barazite- Slovenia U19 1 Netherlands U19 1
Nacer played the whole game as the Netherlands suffered another blow to their hopes of qualifying for next month’s UEFA u-19 European Championships in Ukraine.
Having been held to a goalless draw by Belarus in their first fixtures, a win was needed to ignite some much-needed confidence amongst the Dutch ranks.
They began well enough, taking the lead through Marcus Vejinovic but Slovenia equalised in the second period to ensure that it ended honours even.
The Dutch face Russia in their final qualifier on Tuesday, knowing that anything other than a win will not be enough.
Conor Henderson’s Republic of Ireland side are in action against Switzerland this afternoon.
The 2009 UEFA u-17 European Championships kicked off in Germany today, with Arsenal eyes particularly drawn to the England-Holland encounter in Cottbus, where there were no less than four Gunners on show.
Jack Wilshere and Luke Freeman started for the Three Lions, with Benik Afobe on the bench, whilst Oguzhan Ozyakup captained the Netherlands.
Prior to the game, Ozyakup had spoken about his desire to annihalate his team-mates and he was true to his word. With just four minutes gone, he landed the first blow. Shabir Isoufi cut the ball back from the by-line and Ozyakup was on hand to lash the ball home.
He could have had a second soon after, but saw his shot saved by Jed Steer in the England goal. At the other end, Wilshere was beginning to grow in stature.
After rattling the crossbar with a chipped free-kick, he played a killer pass through to Everton’s Jose Baxter, but the young forward couldn’t finish.
Wilshere continued to make an impression after the break with a cunning effort from distance and England eventually levelled when Leeds’ Luke Garbutt, the left-back, fired home from a narrow angle.
Afobe replaced the tiring Freeman on 75 minutes, but struggled to make an impact.
England take on Germany on Saturday, whilst the Netherlands face Turkey, another country which Ozyakup has allegiances to.
Kieran Gibbs played the whole game last night as England U20s played their first fixture for over three years.
The Lambeth-born youngster was employed in central-midfield, and played a part in the second goal. Gibbs whipped in a cross from the left, Freddie Sears allowed the ball to run past him and then Daniel Sturridge controlled expertly and drilled it home.
Earlier, Ciaran Clark opened the scoring with a header which scraped under the crossbar.
Armand Traoré, who is currently on loan at Portsmouth, played 78 minutes as France U21s beat England U21s at the City Ground last night.
Les Bleus won courtesy of first-half goals from Gabriel Obertan and Moussa Sissoko against a poor England side.
Traoré, playing on the left-wing, was a threat with his pace all night but his final ball let him down on occasions and occasionally he drifted too far wide when he could of provided support for his fellow attackers.
Arsenal striker Rui Fonte scored the winner as Portugal U21’s beat Madeira 1-0. Fonte, who is currently on loan at Crystal Palace, turned in Fabio Coentrao’s header in the second-half.
Elsewhere, Gavin Hoyte played the whole game as England U19’s were held to a 0-0 draw by the Czech Republic at Walsall’s Banks’s stadium. Hoyte was solid throughout and was Arsenal’s only representative in the fixture after captain Henri Lansbury pulled out at short notice through injury.
In other news, midfielder Mark Randall has been talking about the possibility of a loan spell. In an interview with Arsenal.com, he said “It’s good to know that Neil [Banfield] can trust me and he has given me a big responsibility being captain of his team, but I need to be looking to push on.”
Many criticised his performance during the goalless draw with Chelsea and, with first-team opportunities at Arsenal limited, a loan spell would be the obvious option.
Today he was linked with a temporary switch to Championship side Blackpool which could help him to get some more consistency in his game.
Arsenal striker Luke Freeman scored the only goal of the game as England u-17s edged past Portugal in Hungary this morning.
Following a closely-contested first-half, Freeman met John Bostock’s cross and finished from a tight angle to claim three points for the Three Lions.
Coach John Peacock was full of praise for Freeman, who was a late call-up to the squad after Jack Wilshere picked up an ankle problem, saying ”It was a great finish by Luke Freeman, who I thought received the ball well throughout the whole game.”
Benik Afobe was named as a substitute and could come into contention for a starting role against Serbia on Friday.
Elsewhere, midfielder Oguzhan Özyakup played an integral part in ensuring that his Holland side qualified for the finals.
He played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan as a Nygel Velder strike gave the Dutch victory. He also featured in the 4-0 demolition of Luxembourg, with a Luc Castaignos brace adding to goals from Shabir Isoufi and sub Rangelo Janga.
And last night, ‘Ozzie’ got on the scoresheet in the 3-0 win over Croatia, scoring the second goal from the penalty spot after being brought down by Šime Vrsaljko.
Earlier, Isoufi had given the Dutch the lead with Castaignos adding gloss to the scoreline with a fine finish late on.
Holland are the first team to qualify for the 2009 UEFA u-17 European Championship finals which will be held in Berlin this summer.
Arsenal are known for having several England Youth internationals in their ranks but their are also several Gunners representing the Republic of Ireland- with goalkeeper Sean McDermott and midfielder Callum Webb being called into the Irish u-16 squad for the double-header with France last week.
McDermott, who is currently with Norwegian side Vag FK but is due to link up with the Gunners in the summer when he turns 16, kept goal as Les Bleus ran out 3-0 winners on Tuesday. Despite conceding three goals, McDermott ensured that the scoreline wasn’t any higher with some superb stops. He did well to block Yaya Sanogo’s testing effort and then guessed the right way when faced with an Anthony Koura but unfortunately couldn’t keep it out. Ibrahima Tandia and the aforementioned Sanogo then both got on to the scoresheet to extend the lead. Webb, a dictator of play in central-midfield and a late call-up to the squad, replaced Leicester’s Shane Byrne on 64 minutes.
It was a similar story when the two sides faced eachother again on Thursday, although Ireland did at least get on the scoresheet this time. Webb started the game in central-midfield whilst McDermott had to be content with a place on the bench. He watched on as Les Bleus raced into a 3-0 half-time lead with an Anthony Koura brace and a further strike from Geoffrey Komdogbia. McDermott replaced Alan Smith between the sticks on 57 minutes and Richard Bryans pulled one back for the hosts. However, Bryan then went from hero to zero as he inadvertenly coverted past McDermott for an own-goal. Jean-Christophe Bahebeck’s expertly-struck free-kick also got the better of McDermott, although Chris Lyons salvaged some pride with a late penalty. Webb watched the finale from the bench having been replaced by Byrne.