U18 Premier League
Arsenal 6 (Gower 29, Richards 44 (pen.), Benn 66, 77, Nwaneri 88, Quesada-Thorn 90) Reading 1 (Ehibhatiomhan 62)
An Arsenal U18 side comprised entirely of schoolboys thrashed Reading 6-1 tonight in a game that was played at Hale End.
With Arsenal in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule, the Gunners agreed to field a very young side against Reading, with their opponents largely doing the same.
Seven players were given their debuts at this level from the start – with Alex Kovacevic, Cameron Brayne, Tino Quamina, Jimmy Gower, Mathaeus Roberts, Aaron Benn and 14-year-old Ethan Nwaneri all starting.
Right-back Reuell Walters captianed the side, with Amani Richards, Josh Robinson and Bradley Ibrahim also called upon.
Another 14-year-old, Myles Lewis-Skelly, was named on the bench and came on to make his debut.
Subs: Cozier-Duberry (for Richards, 56), Leiws-Skelly (for Gower, 68), Green (for Roberts, 78). Not used: Telfer, Quesada-Thorn.
Gower, a midfielder who is set to be part of next season’s scholarship intake, put Arsenal ahead in the 29th minute.
Just before half-time Richards, fresh from making his debuts in the U23s and the FA Youth Cup recently, made it 2-0 with a penalty.
Reading got a goal back in the 62nd minute as Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan scored. Just prior to that Arsenal had made a change, with Amario Cozier-Duberry coming on for Richards.
Cozier-Duberry is developing a habit of providing assists shortly after coming on, and that is what he did on this occasion as he set up a goal for Benn.
Kaleel Green entered the fray, and Benn proceeded to get his second goal of the game having been teed up by Roberts.
Then came a memorable moment for U14 attacker Nwaneri, who became one of Arsenal’s youngest ever goalscorers at U18 level having been found by Benn, who was having an excellent game.
There was still time for Arsenal to get a sixth goal as Ibrahim played in U14 prospect Lewis-Skelly, who got his first goal at this level.
Arsenal move up to sixth in the table and this was a hugely positive night, with many prospects getting their first taste of U18 action.
Benn in particular caught the eye, while Nwaneri also seems like a very exciting prospect.
Arsenal squad tonight
Alex Kovacevic – U16 goalkeeper who has previously been on the bench for the U18s on several occasions.
Reuell Walters – U16 right-back who was previously at Manchester United and Tottenham.
Josh Robinson – U16 centre-back. Is also capable of playing in midfield
Cameron Brayne – U16 centre-back. Impressive reader of the game.
Tino Quamina – U16 left-back who was on the bench for reverse fixture v Reading.
Bradley Ibrahim – U16 midfielder. Impressive passer who is becoming increasingly involved for U18s.
Mathaeus Roberts – U16 midfielder – Welsh youth international. Excellent distribution.
Aaron Benn – U16 winger capable of playing on either flank. Skilful and direct.
Jimi Gower – U16 midfielder who can play as a number ten or deeper in midfield.
Amani Richards – U16 attacker who was at Chelsea. Can play anywhere across attacking line. Has already played for U23s and in FA Youth Cup.
Ethan Nwaneri – U14 attacker who has often featured for U16s this season. Extremely highly regarded at Hale End.
Jamie Telfer – U16 goalkeeper. Was previously set to be released but could now end up staying.
Amario Cozier-Duberry – U16 midfielder. Very skilful player who is an exciting prospect.
Kaleel Green – U16 attacker who was at Southampton. Can play out wide or up front.
Kristopher Elian Quesada-Thorn – U16 player from Costa Rica. Capable of playing at left-back or further forward.
Myles Lewis-Skelly – U14 midfielder. Very highly rated youngster who has often played above his age group.