Reine-Adelaide seeks to hit the ground running against Boreham Wood

After what seems like an awfully long wait, Arsenal’s youngsters will find themselves back in the familiar surroundings of Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park tomorrow night for the annual friendly fixture against Ian Allinson’s side.

Much has changed since Arsenal’s last game at the venue, with several long-serving youngsters having departed on a permanent basis, whilst Ainsley Maitland-Niles has gone out on loan and a clutch of promising players from abroad have been added to the club’s youth set-up.

One player who falls into the latter category, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, will be seeking to make a substantial impression tomorrow night as he looks to build upon his impressive debut against Bristol Rovers last weekend.

A confident winger who was plucked from Lens’ academy, Reine-Adelaide has already drawn praise from manager Arsene Wenger and was perilously close to travelling with the first-team squad for their trip to Asia. Although he is eligible to represent Arsenal at U18 level, Reine-Adelaide seems set to play the majority of his football this campaign for the U21s and he will be looking to cement the right wing position as his own.

Against Bristol Rovers Reine-Adelaide formed part of an exciting attacking quartet which was also comprised of Hale End products Kaylen Hinds, Tyrell Robinson and Stephy Mavididi. There will be plenty of competition for places ahead of tomorrow night’s game, with Chris Willock and Jon Toral likely to drop down from the first-team squad.

Chuba Akpom, Alex Iwobi and one of Dan Crowley and Gedion Zelalem are likely to remain with the senior side ahead of the Emirates Cup, but, otherwise, the group that features against Boreham Wood will form the basis of Steve Gatting’s squad for the new season.

It says something about the rapid change that occurs at youth level when the most experienced player in the current U21 team is Glen Kamara, a player who only signed scholarship terms three years ago. Gatting was without several players for the win over Bristol Rovers, with Tafari Moore, Stefan O’Connor and Chiori Johnson all lacking fitness, whilst there are also question marks about the availability of Isaac Hayden, Wellington and Krystian Bielik. George Dobson is set to complete a move to West Ham United this week.

As the season progresses the composition of the U21 team is likely to get even younger, with several players from the U18 squad being drafted in to cover those who are either with the senior side or out on loan. Indeed, Kostas Pileas and Vlad Dragomir, two of the other new signings, were on the bench against Bristol Rovers, whilst much is expected too of forward Yassin Fortune.

Arsenal’s performances and results in this traditional friendly against Boreham Wood have been mixed down the years, but with an exciting new side at his disposal and Reine-Adelaide at the forefront of proceedings, Gatting will be hopeful of leading his side to victory.



    1. Maybe in the League Cup, but he would be in competition with Bielik at both centre-back and in midfield. I think it would be better for Hayden to go on loan once he’s fully fit.

      On Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 1:27 PM, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


  1. I would keep all the u21s until the loan deadline, none of them should join EPL relegation fodder and would be far better served in a championship team chasing promotion.

    However, players such as campbell, wellington, Szczesney or Martinez who are going to see very little game time and are over the age restriction rule need to head out on loan now and possibly replaced. Whilst Flamini and may be Arteta and Rosicky ahould really consider their squad roles this season, if I was one of those 3 I think I would seek a move, to give myself one or two full seasons before I retire. There is no fun in training in but not playing especially when your in your 30s.

    There is up to 7 places in our 25 man squad being occupied by players that are not going to see much game time at all, we need to reduce that number to 5 at most by replacing them with some world class players particularly CF and dm.

    I think these 18 over 21s will see most of the action

    Cech, ospina
    Debuchy mertesacker Gabriel koscielny Monreal gibbs
    Coquelin cazorla Ramsey wilshire ozil
    Walcot alexis chamberlain Welbeck giroud

    U21s to see most action – bellerin, chambers

    Over 21s to see little or no action – Szczesney, Martinez, campbell, wellington, rosicky, arteta and flamini.

    U21s to see little or no action – Macey, iliev, hayden, pleguezuelo, moore, oconnor, bielik, zelalem, kamara, toral, crowley, gnabry, iwobi, willock Akpom, reine-adelaide.

    Obviously this is just my assumption based on the current squad and does not allow for injuries, loans or transfers. One thing is for sure if you looked at the u21s who are going to little or no first team action, we could field an u21 side that would tear up the u21 league and put in a damn good shift in the carling cup

    I think we should loan out a keeper (Szczesney) and sell flamini to brimg in a world class striker and dm. Then let Martinez, arteta, rosicky,wellington and campbell decide their own fate for the season. All 5 of them can easily be replaced by u21s as they would see minimal action, plus some of the u21s would be able to play YCL as well as u21.

    Even with all our injuries last season we only used 33 players in 5 competitions. 4 of those players made 1 appearance whilst 5 appeared in 5 or less matches. 4 players made 10 or less appearances whilst another 2 made 13 or less appearances. Historically wenger rarely uses a squad of more than 23 main players (playing 10 matches or more) and even last season with our injury record the worst in our history, this was the case.

    If you are over 21 playing 10 matches or less a season is no good for your career, if you are under 21 playing 10 matches or less is no good for your development.

    1. Atid, I’m in agreement with you here. I’m not too keen though for our players to go on loan to other clubs that do not mirror the “Arsenal way” of playing. Not many come back the better for it, though I recall Song at Charlton, Wilshere at Bolton and Jenkinson at West Ham are the exceptional few.

      If only the Under-21 League is made more meaningful! Ah well…

  2. JB – Can you name all 19 players for me, I’m wondering why bielik hayden and zelalem appear to have been demoted?

    1. Toral, Hayden, Huddart, Macey, Iliev, Reine-Adelaide, Zelalem Johnson, Kamara, Moore, Pleguezuelo, C. Willock, Mavididi Iwobi, O’Connor, Bielik, Crowley, Sheaf, M. Bola

      Hayden, Zelalem and Bielik are officially part of the first-team squad, but, unlike Akpom, they’re still considered to primarily be youth players.

      On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 10:06 AM, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


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