Schoolboy goalkeeper Phillips earns call-up to Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup squad


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Schoolboy goalkeeper George Phillips has been informed that he will be on the bench for Arsenal U18s in their FA Youth Cup 3rd round tie at home to West Bromwich Albion on Friday night.

Ryan Huddart is the regular goalkeeper for the U18s in the league, but he is over the age limit for the Youth Cup, meaning Finnish youngster Hugo Keto will start in goal, with Phillips, who turns 16 tomorrow, providing back up from the bench.

A product of the club’s Hale End academy who will be hoping to earn a scholarship deal at Arsenal for next season, Phillips has been named amongst the substitutes for the U18s on several occasions for league fixtures.

Arsenal have several injury worries ahead of the West Brom game, with Kaylen Hinds and Chiori Johnson both currently sidelined along with first-years Jordi Osei-Tutu, Charlie Gilmour and Nathan Tella.

The Gunners usually name their strongest available side for matches in this competition, so the likes of Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Krystian Bielik and Chris Willock will all feature if they aren’t required to provide cover for the first-team.

Coach Frans De Kat faces a difficult decision regarding who to select up front, with Donyell Malen having opened his account for the U21s in spectacular fashion after being chosen ahead of Stephy Mavididi for yesterday’s game against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Striker Edward Nketiah has scored nine goals in the league for the U18s this season, but, such is the competition for places up front, the forward may not even make the bench against West Brom, whilst several high-profile youngsters such as Yassin Fortune and Vlad Dragomir are also at risk of being left out of the squad.

Eligible players

Second years

Keto, Eyoma, Bielik, M. Bola, Sheaf, Mourgos, C. Willock, Hinds, Bennacer, Reine-Adelaide, Robinson, Chatzitheodoridis, Mavididi, Johnson, Da Graca.

First years

Malen, Agyei-Tabi, Osei-Tutu, Gilmour, Tella, T. Bola, Fortune, Dasilva, Nketiah, Pileas, Dragomir, J. Willock.

Schoolboys

Phillips, Perrin, Virginia, Nelson, Howard, Benson, Burton, Smith-Rowe, Omole, Barden, Tormey.

Possible team

Keto

Eyoma-Bielik-Da Graca-M. Bola

Sheaf-Agyei-Tabi

C. Willock-Bennacer-Reine Adelaide

Malen

Subs: Phillips, Chatzitheodoridis, Robinson, Nelson, Mavididi. 

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