In recent seasons fewer schoolboys than usual have featured for Arsenal at U18 level but this campaign has seen a return to the policy of giving several U16 players opportunities to impress for the older age group.
One player who has certainly taken his chance is Bukayo Saka, with the England youth international having been a regular in the starting line-up for the young Gunners in recent weeks
Although he is capable of playing as a defender – he has often been deployed at right-back or left-back for England – Saka’s chance in the Arsenal U18 side has come as a winger, with the prospect demonstrating that he is capable of making an impact when played on either flank.
As you would expect from a Hale End player, he is excellent technically but he also appears to possess an impressive tactical understanding of the game and is capable of playing killer passes with regularity.
Saka has combined well with several of Arsenal’s U18 players, especially Emile Smith Rowe, and with the latter now away at the U17 World Cup in India there may well be further opportunities for Saka to catch the eye over the next month or so.
When Arsenal’s injury list at U18 level starts to dwindle and the likes of Trae Coyle and Xavier Amaechi are back available, Saka may no longer be a regular in the starting line-up but if he continues to impress then there is a good chance that he will stay involved with the squad.
At present it looks a near certainty that Saka will be offered scholarship terms by Arsenal for next season and he will hope to continue to impress in the remainder of this campaign as he aims to gain as much experience of U18 football as possible.