Chris Willock leads the way for Arsenal’s next scholarship intake

Chris Willock (r) in action for England U16s in the Victory Shield. Source: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Europe

Chris Willock (r) in action for England U16s in the Victory Shield.
Source: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Europe

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.



  1. Mail are reporting today that Man Utd are after Willock. Hopefully that’s just their normal low standard of journalism and it’s invented on the back of his brother playing for them, but I’ll be a little concerned now until it’s confirmed he’s signed. I know I’d have listened to my big bro as a 15 year old and his may well not be in the mood to do Arsenal a favour having been released previously.

    Don’t do it, kid. They’ll improve your diving but not your skills.

    1. Has a better chance of making it through by joining Man Utd rather than staying and becoming another academy statistic……. how many have succeeded that have come through the academy from the beginning … nil.
      Only if the club invests in bringing you in to the academy do you have any chance… fact!

      1. @Matt, Gibbs was 15 when he got here from Wimbledon who closed their academy. Spot on with Wilshire though.

      2. Wat a stupid comment…r u even arsenal fan cos if u r do u know kirrean gibbs and jack wilshere is arsenal player who is with arsenal since 9

      3. So what you’re saying is unless a player is at the club from the age of six they’re not academy products?

      4. Wilshere spent one month at Luton and signed for Arsenal when he was nine, that means the formative years of his footballing education (11-14) were at Arsenal and that makes him an academy product. It is practically impossible for club to produce an academy product if they were his only club since childhood, most players play for multiple clubs in childhood before being spotted by the club they graduate from. But rid yourself of this delusion that the only way we can consider a player an academy product is if he joined as soon as he left the womb, thats an uniformed opinion and its embarrassing.

    2. That is no way to talk about Britain’s finest newspaper! The Mail speaks for the vast majority of decent law abiding English people.

  2. @Lanesra
    most of the United academy kids also joined up at age 15 though. Or is it so that unites academy kids that joined up at age 15 are “home products” while the Arsenal ones are not?
    It is like that for a lot of youngsters. Especially the foreign that cannot join upon aged 16. Januzai as an example. is the best product out of Uniteds academy for years, yet he did not join them until he was 16. Strictly speaking he is a product of the Anderlecht academy no?

    Only “home products” they got atm is Cleverly, Wellbeck and Evans. Cleverly is not very good, Wellbeck is ok Evans is ok….
    If Cleverly, Wellbeck and Evans were Arsenal products the only one that would have made the grades in the current team is Wellbeck. The fact that those three are “home products” in the current United setup says more about the state of the United team than it says about the quality of their academy. and that my good man is a FACT as you say…..

    Tbf I don’t see any new fresh Academy players ready to take the next stage at United any soon. do you ? I mean we cannot count Januzaj can we? as he only joined them aged 16?
    No Barkleys or Wilsheres or Sterlings coming through there in the foreeable future…

  3. The English Academies suck. If you compare them to the Dutch,Brazil,German and French ones. The English academies have a lot of talent but a few make it. But if you look for example to the Dutch. They have a lot of talent and they also give them the chance to shine and give them a higher platform to perform. Thats why the English national team far behind these countries.

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