Ovie Ejeheri seizes his chance for Arsenal U18s as goalkeeper looks to earn professional contract

Being a goalkeeper can be very frustrating when you are not first-choice and especially so when you are an academy shot-stopper who is in the final year of his scholarship contract.

Ovie Ejeheri has endured much frustration in recent years, with the goalkeeper not playing at all last season due to injury and others being preferred.

Now, however, the 17-year-old has seemingly established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper for Arsenal U18s, and he is seizing his opportunity.

For so long Hubert Graczyk had frequently been selected by Ken Gillard but had often been underwhelming as he conceded goals with regularity.

Last month it was reported by Sky Sports that several Premier League clubs are interested in signing Ejeheri, while there is also competition for his future at international level, with England, Nigeria and Uganda all wanting him to represent them.

It surely cannot be a coincidence that Ejeheri has seemingly moved up the pecking order at Arsenal since that story emerged. The youngster has been on the bench for the U23s and in the EFL Trophy, while he has played in each of the last three games for the U18s.

Ejeheri commands his penalty area well and made a couple of impressive saves in the victory against Leicester City this weekend, while there was little he could do about the own goal scored by Zach Awe.

After previously looking like one of the potential candidates to be released at the end of the season, Ejeheri has suddenly been thrown into the spotlight and would now appear to have a better chance than Graczyk of earning an extended stay.

If he was to get a professional deal then Ejeheri would then be faced with another challenge, with the likes of Karl Hein and Arthur Okonkwo also highly regarded by the club. Given the progress he has made of late, though, it seems anything is possible.

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