Nathan Butler-Oyedeji continuing to make progress for Arsenal U21s

One of the most pleasing aspects of watching youth football is seeing youngsters make significant progress in terms of their all-round game, and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji has done just that in the first half of this season.

Butler-Oyedeji’s first campaign with the second-string was rather frustrating for him at times, with the attacker not guaranteed regular playing time, while there were occasions when he was left out of the matchday squad entirely.

Now, however, Butler-Oyedeji has established himself as one of the standout performers for Arsenal U21s.

The 19-year-old cannot exactly be described as a late developer, but he was in the same scholarship intake in 2019 as Miguel Azeez, who has made his competitive senior debut for Arsenal and is now in his second loan spell away from the club.

It was previously thought that Butler-Oyedeji was better suited to playing as a winger, where he could use his speed and trickery to excellent effect.

This season, though, the prospect has been more effective in front of goal when deployed as a striker and he is also coming to terms with the other demands required of playing in that position, such as using his strength and linking up play.

Butler-Oyedeji was particularly impressive in the Papa Johns Trophy this season and is currently the top scorer overall in that competition with four goals, while he was voted the player of the group stages.

The Hale End product’s progress hasn’t gone unnoticed by the first-team coaching staff either. He was involved in a friendly against Brentford B last season and this campaign travelled with the squad as the extra man for the game away to PSV in the Europa League.

Butler-Oyedeji will hope to be involved in the first-team’s training camp in Dubai and the upcoming friendly against Juventus.

Next season he could head out on loan at some stage, but the progress that Butler-Oyedeji has made so far this season has been very encouraging.

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