Arsenal youth awards – 2016/17


It was a season of mixed fortunes for Arsenal at youth level, with some excellent performances and also some extremely concerning ones.

The U18s came close to winning the league title before finishing second, while the U23s ended up fourth in Premier League 2.

There was disappointment in the UEFA Youth League, however, as Arsenal failed to get beyond the group stages, while the club were eliminated in the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup.

Here’s a look at some of Arsenal’s best performing youth players this season.

BIGGEST FIRST-TEAM IMPACT – AINSLEY MAITLAND-NILES

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There weren’t quite as many first-team opportunities for young players this season as in previous years, but Maitland-Niles, back from a loan spell at Ipswich Town, made a significant impact.

The Hale End product featured in the Premier League away to Sunderland, while he was also prominently involved in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, with his versatility proving a valuable asset.

BEST U23 PLAYER – REISS NELSON

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Ben Sheaf was excellent at the back but it is impossible to ignore Nelson’s contribution.

Despite often being the youngest player in the team, the starlet consistently stood out for Arsenal U23s, scoring six times and providing as many assists.

First-team involvement in some capacity certainly appears to be the logical next step.

BEST U18 PLAYER – EDDIE NKETIAH

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Although he broke into the U23s as the season progressed, Nketiah was heavily involved with the U18s this term and, as we have come to expect, was a regular on the scoresheet.

The England youth international found the net 15 times in as many games for Kwame Ampadu’s team.

Other prospects caught the eye including Donyell Malen, Emile Smith-Rowe and Joe Willock.

BEST SCHOOLBOY – TRAE COYLE

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This season was notable for fewer schoolboys featuring for the youth sides than normal but Coyle still managed to impose himself.

Capable of playing as a winger or an attacking midfielder, Coyle was involved for the U18s and in the UEFA Youth League before an injury brought his campaign to an early end.

BEST LOANEE – KELECHI NWAKALI

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Krystian Bielik was excellent for Birmingham City but in terms of performances throughout the season, this award deserves to go to Nwakali.

The Nigerian midfielder possessed no prior experience of European football, yet he quickly established himself as a regular for Maastricht in the Dutch second tier and frequently burst forwards to excellent effect.

 

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One comment

  1. I would have thought Szczesny would be the best loanee – the best GK in Serie A 😉
    (yes, joking, I know we’re talking about the youths)

    Jorge, how would you rate the loan spells of the other players – like Toral, Asano, Bielik, Zelalem, Pleguezelo. Anyone did a good job, made an impression, got the needed experience?…

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