Nathan Butler-Oyedeji trains with Arsenal first-team ahead of Tottenham game

Arsenal U23s attacker Nathan Butler-Oyedeji was involved in first-team training today ahead of Sunday’s game against Tottenham Hotspur.

The 18-year-old is capable of playing as a winger or up front but has been left out of the matchday squad for the last three league games for the U23s as there has been much competition for places.

A hard-working player with good technique, Butler-Oyedeji seems better suited to playing out wide and will hope for further opportunities wifh the U23s as the campaign progresses.

Goalkeeper Karl Hein, who was on the bench against AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup, also trained with the squad.

Highly rated youngsters Charlie Patino and Omari Hutchinson were also involved in the session.


  1. With Betsy favouring a 352 formation, can you see wingers like Hutchinson, kido-hart and butler-odeyiji reverting to wing back roles?

    1. It’s possible but I think they’ll stay in advanced positions for now. It’s a good option to have though. On Fri, 24 Sep 2021 at 17:45, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


  2. What do you make of the third choice gk position? Has Hein usurped Okonkwo or is it his “health issues” (what is/were is mysterious injury last year anyway?) that is the problem? Hein was included in the first team photo but is not officially a part of the squad.

    Can it possibly be that Okonkwo reprised the situation with Runarsson – being brought in but not showing himself up to the standards required?

    1. I think they’re giving chances to both in terms of travelling with the squad to games but it does seem as if Hein has edged ahead for now. Okonkwo is very talented too though despite his difficulties in pre-season.

      On Fri, 24 Sep 2021 at 22:06, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


  3. There seems a definite increase in the competition for places at both U23 and U18 level this season Jeorge, it’s as if last seasons policy of sending out so many youngsters on loan has been revised so that both our B team and youths are not left so short in numbers as was the case 12 months ago?

    The investment in Hale End certainly seems to be paying dividends in so many ways with what seems to be a continuous stream of young talent pushing for senior recognition. I’ve seen periods in the past where our youth department have developed a clutch of youngsters who’ve broken into the senior squad but there seems now to be a far more sustained influx of talent currently than I can ever remember.

    1. I think a few loan deals didn’t go ahead as players were injured but there are definitely more players at the club this season. I think they’re trying to keep as many as possible so that they don’t lose any major talents.

      On Sat, 25 Sep 2021 at 10:27, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


    2. I’m less optimistic, Kev.
      While the Academy is indeed strong in many departments, I find loaning exceptionally weak.
      Keeping 5 U23 goalkeepers is not healthy competition to me (it’s too many even for training sessions, fortunately some could join the first team for time to time), and we have 6 (!) CMs for a single position – assuming Akinola is a must-start being the only DM in the squad. With Patino in peak form and Salah-Eddine proving perfectly capable to substitute Arsenal are actually wasting Cirjan, McEneff, Olayinka and Cottrell (who had his EL debut a year ago!) – all high profile players with several international call-ups. 3 of them should have gone on loan (I might have opted to sell Olayinka and McEneff, but it’s not up to me). This is not increasing increasing the demand for a youngster to represent his country or going on a loan next season. While there might be an elaborate master plan behind it, for me it looks closer to plain incompetence than healthy competition.

      Regarding the ‘continuous stream of young talent pushing for senior recognition’, it all looks good on paper. But in reality good performances – unfortunately – are like tears in the rain. They get forgotten by the month. Remember, a year ago we were discussing how and when Möller should be introduced to the first team, as the Swedish giant seemed to be the future savior of Arsenal? Now he is buried in German third tier (!), and everybody demands Mika to have his debut in the first team (so Edwards should have a chance in U23, and Richards should play in U18), while there are no real minutes even to Balogun. An the same applies in practically every position. The signing of Tavares destroyed the chances of Lopez or Ogungbo, breaking the bank for White might have been wonderful news to many fans, but it not only meant game over to Clarke, Dinzeyi and McGuinness, but Mavropanos, Rekik, Ballard and Saliba are competing for maximum 1 position in the first team, that basically all of them would deserve.

      The senior recognition ends with first team training call-ups. Which might be enough for a 17-18y kid, but – unlike Chelsea or Manchester City – without actual senior opportunities and meaningful loan spells we will keep losing our best talents either for free (Virginia, Musah, Daley-Campbell) or for a nominal fee way below their potential (McGuinness, Greenwood, Mavididi, Jeff R-A).

      1. Its all a case of finding a balance, you know too many players or too few and of course the results are key PB, it’s results that after all put paid to Steve Bould this summer. You can’t keep everyone and you can’t get a fee for everyone but yes there have been players who we probably should have got a return on.
        I think the club have done some great work recently in retaining its best players and to be frank I can only think of Gnabry whose really gone on to set the world alight after leaving Arsenal. Musah had some good performances last season but we’ve not heard a peep since.

        As far as the talent coming out of Hale End, believe me it’s impressive, you just have to give it time, a year ago Smith Rowe was on the sidelines, now he’s a key player for us, who knows who’ll take that step this season or next?

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