Arsenal are renowned for producing players with creative and attacking qualities, but in Mauro Bandeira they possess a prospect who has those attributes allied with defensive steel.
Bandeira is now well established in Arsenal’s U18 side having broke into the team towards the end of last season, and the Portuguese youngster is frequently deployed alongside Charlie Patino at the base of the midfield for Ken Gillard’s team.
From next month, when he turns 17, Bandeira will be eligible for a professional contract and he is certainly on track to achieve that objective at some stage.
Against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, for instance, Bandeira often pushed forward and ended up providing an assist for Luke Plange.
Bandeira has excellent close control and is a fine dribbler, while he also has a good passing range.
Defensively he is capable of making important interventions, although there are some concerns regarding whether he provides the necessary protection to the back four – the U18s haven’t kept a clean sheet since he came into the side.
Still, there are many positives to Bandeira’s game and his ability to push into the final third is hugely useful, especially when he is surrounded by so many attacking talents.
Perhaps at times he can be a little over-zealous with the challenges that he makes, but overall the signs are very encouraging for Bandeira, who is one of many talented youngsters in this season’s group of new scholars.