Zak Swanson’s versatility a major asset for Arsenal U23s

Arsenal U23s had to work hard to secure a point away to Leicester City last night, with the performance of Zak Swanson a significant factor in the young Gunners avoiding defeat.

Swanson is one of the most experienced players in the Arsenal U23 squad having amassed over 30 appearances at this level since he was first called up in 2017.

Having previously been a winger, he moved to right-back and this season has been used in various positions by coach Kevin Betsy.

In fact, the 21-year-old has demonstrated that he is capable of performing effectively in almost every outfield position expect perhaps as a striker.

Last night, with a host of defensive regulars missing, Swanson was deployed at centre-back, a position that he has some experience of operating in.

Swanson produced a typically committed display as he made some vital interceptions, while when the opportunity arose he also pushed forward from defence to support the attack.

A player with impressive leadership qualities, Swanson helped to guide first-year scholars Bradley Ibrahim and Reuell Walters, both of whom were playing out of position, through the game.

Quite what the future holds for Swanson remains uncertain. It was somewhat surprising, given his age, that he wasn’t loaned out in the January transfer window.

His only experience of senior football remains a hugely frustrating loan spell at MVV Maastricht in the first half of last season which yielded just three appearances.

Swanson has often trained with the Arsenal first-team but has yet to make his debut and with other players progressing well, such as Brooke Norton-Cuffy, it could be difficult for him to make it at the club in the long-term.

However, his commitment this season has been fantastic and certainly warrants involvement in senior football next season, whether at Arsenal or elsewhere.

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3 comments

  1. I saw him play CB last night to my surprise and I can’t stop thinking why more obvious available CBs was not playing? … like Dinzeyi (if he is that poor = get rid), Rekik (potential 1st team?), Ogungbo (potential 1st team?), Kirk?, Foran (benched in favor of a fullback?), Monlouis (AWOL?), Awe (1st team again? nah). I do like Swanson, but I am so confused about the callups to the U23 in general. Do they want to win? Do they want to develop the players mostly (eldest) in need? Fair enough if they are all injured or isolated with covid, but I start to wonder!

  2. You have to feel some sympathy for Swanson because of the injuries he’s picked up at vital stages of his development that have left him treading water, likewise his contemporary Cottrell, both these lads looked to have big futures at Arsenal but sadly seem to have been overtaken, which I guess shows how much luck can play a part in a players career.

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