Mehmet Ali could have important part to play as Arsenal look for Kevin Betsy’s replacement

The search for Kevin Betsy’s replacement as the coach of Arsenal U23s is underway.

It isn’t currently clear whether Arsenal will look to make an internal appointment to succeed Betsy but if that is the case then Mehmet Ali will certainly come into consideration.

Ali has only been at Arsenal since January but he has received praise from players for the work that he has done as Betsy’s assistant for the U23s.

Prior to joining Arsenal, Ali was in charge of Reading’s U23 side. Although his record doesn’t exactly make for good reading – he won three, drew six and lost nine of his games in charge – it is useful that he possesses experience of coaching a youth team, albeit in the second tier of Premier League 2.

Ali was previously the assistant coach for Reading U23s, so he has been in a similar situation before in terms of stepping up from being an assistant to becoming the main man. Before that he was a youth development phase coach at Tottenham Hotspur.

Even if he doesn’t replace Betsy, Ali could have an important part to play in the interim as if a new coach is not appointed immediately he may have to oversee coaching sessions early in pre-season, as Ryan Garry did last summer, and he could select the team for some of the pre-season fixtures.

Ali already has experience of working with the group, which could prove to be very useful whoever is appointed.

It is also worth remembering that Ken Gillard is still at Arsenal. Previously the coach of the Gunners’ U18s side, he then stepped up to become the assistant for the U23s. Since last year he has taken on a slightly different job which has involved him monitoring Arsenal’s loan players as well as still working with the U23s.

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