Arsenal U18s are in a constant state of flux, with players frequently stepping up to represent the club at older age groups.
For the game away to Swansea City last weekend coach Kwame Ampadu was without six players (Hugo Keto, Kostas Pileas, Reiss Nelson, Marcus McGuane, Donyell Malen and Tolaji Bola) who were all with the U23s, while Yassin Fortune and Charlie Gilmour remain injured.
As a consequence Ampadu had to delve deep into his resources just to field a team for the trip to Wales, with several first-year scholars featuring, while four schoolboys were included in the squad.
It was one of the more experienced players on show, striker Edward Nketiah, who found the net for Ampadu’s side in the 1-1 draw, but there were some other impressive performers, not least Tobi Omole, who filled in at left-back to good effect.
Omole is usually deployed at centre-back, but, with Pileas and Bola not available, he was moved across to left-back against Swansea. The 16-year-old was impressive as he frequently made forays down the flank and produced some incisive crosses.
There were, inevitably, some mistakes, with Joseph Olowu and Josh Benson not at their sharpest, but it will take time for the team to find cohesion after so many alterations.
Emile Smith-Rowe, one of the standout prospects in this group, was impressive on the left flank, although he won’t be available for the game against Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend as he is on international duty with England’s youngsters.
On the other wing Joe Willock showcased his potential, with the second-year scholar looking to earn a professional contract, while schoolboy Trae Coyle (an attacking midifielder) caught the eye on his first start at this level and it was from his free-kick that Nketiah eventually scored the equaliser.