Given that a significant amount of Arsenal’s second-year scholars are still featuring frequently for the U18s this season it has been difficult for some of the first-years to force their way into the side in the early stages of the campaign.
Gradually, though, the process is starting to occur and some of the players who signed scholarship terms in the summer are beginning to demonstrate their quality for Ken Gillard’s side.
One player who certainly falls into that category is Ben Cottrell. A winger who is capable of operating on either flank, Cottrell, who turned 17 at the end of last month, has reportedly attracted interest from Borussia Dortmund and Marseille.
If that is the case then the German and French clubs don’t have too much evidence to go on as Cottrell has been used sparingly. However, when he has featured the Hale End product has invariably made an impact, making use of his excellent close control and ability to play slick passes.
Cottrell provided an assist, his second of the season, as the U18s beat Fulham 4-0 in the Premier League Cup last weekend, and will hope that further opportunities to impress will soon be on the horizon.
Josh Martin, another winger, was on the scoresheet against Fulham. Last season, when he was still a schoolboy, Martin played three times for the U18s, but he has yet to feature in the league this campaign and there have been occasions when he has been left out of the squad entirely.
Soon, however, he should get more opportunities as members of the U18 side step up to the U23s, with Cottrell and Martin eager to establish themselves as important members of the team.