Early last season Brooke Norton-Cuffy, a first-year scholar at the time, benefitted from injuries to others as he was drafted into the U23 squad unexpectedly early.
Rather ironically, Norton-Cuffy has now suffered an injury himself, which has opened the door for a current first-year, Reuell Walters, to receive some opportunities for the U23s.
Walters, who signed for Arsenal last season, has already gained plenty of experience playing for the U18s, where he is usually deployed as a right wing-back, and he has previously captained the team at that level.
The 16-year-old was called upon for the U23s for the Premier League Cup game against Southampton B and also featured against Swindon Town in the Papa John’s Trophy before coming on as a substitute against Manchester United last weekend to make his Premier League 2 debut.
Walters has adapted well to the step up, demonstrating his impressive technique and tactical awareness, while he also enjoys pushing forward to support the attack.
The return to action of Ryan Alebiosu, whose proposed loan move to Sunderland didn’t materialise, could mean that Walters may soon find himself back in the U18s, especially with Norton-Cuffy also due to return from injury soon.
However, Walters will certainly have benefitted from the experience and will be well equipped when he inevitably has to make the step up again to the U23s.
Previously at Tottenham Hotspur, the youngster was set to join Manchester United before an administrative error prevented the deal from going ahead and he eventually ended up at Arsenal. He is eligible to represent England, Germany or Jamaica at international level.