Zelalem emphasises potential to all with composed display

It had always been clear that Gedion Zelalem was a terrific talent owing to his calmness on the ball and ability to find his team-mates with ease, but yesterday, in his first appearance for the senior side, the 16 year old demonstrated just why he has been referred to as one of the most precocious talents in recent years.

Whilst many of his fellow new first-year scholars were making their debuts for the U21s in a friendly away to Sutton United on Friday evening, Zelalem was travelling to Asia with the senior squad, something which itself wasn’t too much of a surprise given the regularity with which Arsene Wenger has selected the Germany U16 international to train with the first-team.

After finally being granted permission to play in England last season, Zelalem, who was spotted by Arsenal scouts whilst playing for Olney Rangers in America, featured four times for the U21s towards the end of last season, but, after shining on his debut against Liverpool, failed to catch the eye in his other three outings.

Yesterday, however, he looked immediately at ease after being introduced as a second-half substitute against an Indonesian XI, was comfortable in possession and played one stupendous, outside-of-the-boot pass to find Thomas Eisfeld that could be described as a genuine show-stopping moment, whilst his overall performance was highly commendable.

There will be much tougher challenges to come, however. Zelalem does require some improvement in his physicality, but that will no doubt come in time. Furthermore, when he was closed down during those aforementioned U21 fixtures, the youngster found it difficult to play the correct passes, which is something he will have to learn to cope with when he comes up against more experienced defenders.

The general situation concerning Zelalem, however, can be deemed to be rather positive. Much of the mystique that surrounded his arrival has now worn off and it is clear to all that he is indeed a very promising player for the future. Whether he will follow the example set by Jack Wilshere and become part of the first-team squad whilst still a first-year remains to be seen, but, regardless, he will certainly feature in the Capital One Cup this season, and, depending on his progress, could be involved in further competitions, too.



  1. he is only 16 wow his passing, controling, turning what agreat player for the feutur really we got new fabregas

  2. No doubt he is a top talent hence the comparision wit cesc but @16 i tink cesc was more stronger n beta considerin de quality of players we had then…Cesc n Jack broke into d first team @16 hopefully Zelalam emulate them

  3. I think most had to come away impressed with the efforts of the entire team, but also the youngsters on display. The least effective appeared to be Aneke, but having been asked to assume a role he doesn’t play’ you would expect some difficulties. Zelalem looked bright, 3 though balls were the telling aspect of his play and you can see that Cesc calmness about him (still early door for comparisons). I was there when Cesc made4 his debut in the CC all those years ago.

    I thought Serge had a great game, in the first half he looked like he was trying a little to hard to make something happen, as did Akpom but as they settled you could see the promise. Serge looks the most likely at this stage to figure in the first team plans, Eisfeld is also close.

    I would really love to have seen Bellerin on this tour but I know he is on international duty. All in all, pleasing and I hope for more to come.

  4. His close control is superb. Vision and techniques are great. We should not let him play simple close passes all the time. Give the ball to the right man even when its far away and forward passes. Can’t let him be another Denilson who I think was top class before he eventually ended up being very ineffective with his runs and passes when all he did was give the ball to Fabregas, wilshere or Song.

    Obviously he is lacking in muscle strength but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Look at Neymar, Benayoun, tiago, Oscar, cazorla and many more. As long as he keeps everything else top class muscles is the last thing you need to worry about, it should be the last thing too.

    Frimpong is strong as hell and he thinks he is invincible in the challenges. Without the muscles frimpong would have focus on reading the game, decision making and techniques. Defending with brain instead of trying to be a wall.

  5. People need to CALM DOWN lol. Playing well against Indonesia in pre season is all it takes to be the new fabregas? im not hating on him, he is an exciting talent but we need to see him play much more before comparing him with a top player.

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