Arsenal are yet to officially decide on the composition of their scholarship intake for next season, with confirmation in that regard not expected for another couple of weeks, but, given that he was invited to train with the first-team squad yesterday, promising youngster Chris Willock seems a certainty for inclusion.
Willock, who does not turn 16 until the end of the month, is capable of operating in numerous midfield and attacking positions, but has mainly been used as a winger for Arsenal’s U18 side, for whom he has already featured on seven occasions. Also an England U16 international, Willock should become a regular presence for Carl Laraman’s struggling U18 side at club level in the second half of the season.
Striker Kaylen Hinds is currently out injured but also seems likely to receive a scholarship having impressed for the U18s so far this season, scoring two goals in six starts, whilst also featuring as a substitute in the UEFA Youth League. There is much competition amongst the club’s schoolboy strikers, however, with Stephy Mavdidi and Olufela Olomola also hopeful of being granted extended stays.
Diligent central-midfielder George Dobson is also recovering from injury, but is very highly rated within the club, whilst the versatile Tyrell Robinson is another player who has caught the eye for the U18s so far this season.
Difficult decisions will also have to be made regarding defenders Chiori Johnson and Marc Bola and midfielders Aaron Eyoma, Jayden Thorbourne and Ovie Ejaria, whilst only one out of the promising goalkeepers Corey Addai and Harry Girling is likely to be retained.
One certainty regarding Arsenal’s scholarship intake for next season is that Kristopher Da Graca will be included, with the Swedish defender’s move from Hisingsbacka FC set to be completed in July.