Matt Smith and Miguel Azeez involved as Arsenal U21s start pre-season training

Arsenal U21s held their first training session of pre-season today, with midfielder Matt Smith among those involved.

Smith, who spent last season on loan at Doncaster Rovers, could leave permanently this summer.

With no permanent appointment having yet been made with regards to the U21s coach, Ken Gillard took charge of the session.

Gillard previously coached Arsenal at U18s level, while last season he combined his duties as U23s assistant coach with also looking after the loan group. U21s assistant coach Mehmet Ali was also present.

Other players who took part in the session included Miguel Azeez, who could be loaned out amidst interest from Girona.

Catalin Cirjan and Ben Cottrell, who have struggled with injuries, were both involved, along with newly signed professionals such as Khayon Edwards, Taylor Foran, Charles Sagoe Jr and Mauro Bandeira.

Tim Akinola, Mazeed Ogungbo, Kido Taylor-Hart, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Joel Ideho, Zach Awe, James Olayinka, George Lewis and Ryan Alebiosu were also involved.

Goalkeepers James Hillson, Hubert Graczyk, Ovie Ejeheri and Tom Smith all trained, with the latter back available after a long-term injury.

Daniel Ballard and Marcelo Flores were absent after international duty, while Mika Biereth, who has been linked with a loan move to RKC Waalwijk, also wasn’t involved.

Jordi Osei-Tutu didn’t take part as he is finalising his permanent switch to VfL Bochum.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy is away with England at the U19 European Championship, while Nikolaj Moller, Tyreece John-Jules and Zane Monlouis also weren’t pictured in the session. The latter may still be recovering from an injury he suffered towards the end of last season.

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