Arsenal named their squad for the Premier League Asia Trophy this morning, with four youngsters from outside the first-team squad making the cut.
Dan Crowley, Chris Willock, Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide have all been included, but there is no place in the squad for Isaac Hayden, Wellington or Jon Toral, with serious question marks now being placed over the latter two’s first-team prospects.
Both players impressed on loan last season, for Almeria and Brentford respectively, but have been unable to earn a place on the plane to Asia.
Arsene Wenger has the majority of his first-team squad available for the games against a Singapore XI and either Everton or Stoke City, but there are some notable absentees, with Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck both out injured and Alexis Sanchez, David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson, Serge Gnabry and Joel Campbell all being given extended leaves as a consequence of their international commitments this Summer.
Several international players who have not yet returned to training have been included, with Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud all part of the 27-man travelling group.
Some of the players on the fringes of the squad have also been named, such as Chuba Akpom and Gedion Zelalem, but there is no such place for Krystian Bielik, who isn’t yet back in training. Yaya Sanogo has been omitted amidst rumours of a possible loan move for the French striker.
Other youngsters to miss out on inclusion are Julio Pleguezuelo, Stefan O’Connor, Glen Kamara and Ryan Huddart, although this was largely due to the involvement of a large amount of significantly more experienced players.
In terms of the players that were chosen, it will be especially interesting to see how Crowley fares in a first-team environment, given the tremendous promise he has shown at youth level since joining the club two years ago.
Willock’s inclusion is a deserved reward for his progress and his selection ahead of Wellington, a player five years his senior, is testament to just how highly the Hale End product is regarded within the club.
Reine-Adelaide, it must be presumed, has made a stellar impression in training this week. It has been a whirlwind few days for the 17-year-old attacking midfielder since his arrival from Lens was confirmed and the games in Asia will provide us with the first glimpse at this talent.
Iwobi’s involvement, meanwhile, is fully deserved, with the youngster having been very impressive for Arsenal at U21 level last season. It was suggested that the prospect, who has impressed in a central striking position of late, would go on loan this season and that scenario may still occur, but, before then, the youngster, who already has two senior call-ups to his name, will be provided with an opportunity to impress Wenger and his coaching staff.
You will be able to read reports and analysis from all of Arsenal’s pre-season fixtures here on Arsenal Youth, with particular focus on the youngsters involved.
Arsenal squad for Premier League Asia Trophy: Cech, Szczesny, Martinez, Bellerin, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers, Gabriel, Monreal, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Arteta, Flamini, Wilshere, Zelalem, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Crowley, Reine-Adelaide, Ramsey, Iwobi, C. Willock, Giroud, Akpom.