Lino Sousa’s composure hints at bright future

When Arsenal signed Lino Sousa from West Bromwich Albion in January the indication was that the youngster could be a player who progresses very quickly.

That much was hinted at when, shortly after his arrival, Sousa travelled with the U21 squad as the extra man for the Papa John’s Trophy game away to Wigan Athletic.

In a short space of time Sousa could go from being the extra man to the man for the second string.

Sousa has already quickly established himself as a regular for Arsenal at U18 level, taking advantage of an injury suffered by Henry Jeffcott.

An England youth international, Sousa has demonstrated his versatility for Arsenal U18s, featuring as a left wing-back and also as a left-sided centre-back in a three man defence.

Wherever he has been deployed Sousa has shown that he is very composed in possession, with his playing style seeming somewhat reminiscent of Ainsley Maitland-Niles at youth level. Sousa relishes pushing forward but also doesn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities.

In recent weeks Sousa has become more involved with the U23s. Having made his Arsenal debut as a late substitute in the defeat to Liverpool, the prospect was given his first start away to Middlesbrough in the Premier League Cup this week.

Sousa again gave a good account of himself and pushed forward when the opportunity presented itself, but there is a feeling that there is much more to come from him.

Once Joel Lopez steps up to senior football of some description, it seems inevitable that Sousa will establish himself as a regular starter for the U23s on the left side of the defence. It is worth noting that Sousa made his U23s debut for West Brom last season when he was still a schoolboy.

Making the breakthrough at Arsenal certainly won’t be an easy task but the early signs suggest that Sousa will at least challenge for involvement in the future. At just 17 years of age he has plenty of time on his side.

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