Author: Jeorge Bird

Krystian Bielik amongst four Arsenal players selected for U21 Euros

Arsenal defender Krystian Bielik has received his first call-up to the Poland U21 squad after being selected for the European Championships for that age group. 

The centre-back, who impressed while on loan at Birmingham City in the second half of the season, will hope to feature in the tournament, which will take place in his homeland between June 16th and 30th. 

Hector Bellerin is in the Spain squad. 

Rob Holding and Calum Chambers have been included in the England squad for the competition, with all three players set to miss at least part of pre-season.  

With Shkodran Mustafi representing Germany at the Confederations Cup and Gabriel recovering from injury, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are likely to be the only senior centre-backs that will play a full part in pre-season. 

That could mean that some youngsters, such as Ben Sheaf, who caught the eye following his transformation from a defensive-midfielder to a centre-back, could get a chance with the first-team this summer. 

Arsenal first-year scholars 2016/17- progress report

Whereas in previous years Arsenal tended to field line-ups containing many first-year scholars at U18 level, that wasn’t the case this campaign as coach Kwame Ampadu often elected to name extremely strong teams.

However, some of the club’s first-year scholars still made some significant steps forward in their development. Here’s a look at how they fared.



Undoubtedly the standout talent in this group of players, Nelson still played for the U18s at times but was most heavily involved with the U23s, for whom he scored six goals and provided six assists.

Capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or out wide, the 17-year-old is extremely skilful and will be aiming to make his first-team debut in 2017/18.


The Portugal youth international goalkeeper featured prominently for Arsenal at U18 level and made some impressive stops, while he also made one appearance in the UEFA Youth League and was on the bench for the U23s. Furthermore, he gained valuable experience training with the first-team.

Virginia should continue to play regularly for the U18s next campaign and will also be aiming to step up to the second-string.


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A highly-regarded winger, Smith-Rowe made his debut for the U23s in the heavy defeat to Everton and was a regular for the U18s, producing some encouraging performances for the latter age group.

The starlet represented England at the U17 Euros and looks set for a bright future at both club and international level.


The centre-back perhaps made the most progress out of all of Arsenal’s first-years this season.

Going into the season Olowu hadn’t previously featured for the U18s, but he quickly established himself as a regular at that level and went on to make four appearances for the U23s as the campaign went on.



Despite having made his debut for the U18s in the 2014/15 campaign, Omole had to be patient for opportunities and was often deployed at left-back rather than in his usual position of centre-back.

The highlight of the youngster’s season was undoubtedly his dramatic late winner as a substitute against Swansea City in February.


A winger who joined Arsenal as a schoolboy from Leyton Orient, Beckford was used sparingly this season as he was restricted to just three U18 appearances.

Beckford will hope to feature more prominently next campaign as he looks to earn a professional contract.



A talented central-midfielder, Benson played eleven times for the U18s, scoring once.

An impressive passer, he should be a regular for the U18s next season.


The Welsh youth international, another central-midfielder, was given 14 appearances at U18 level and also scored one goal.

A player with much potential, he will hope to push on next campaign and could be a useful option for Ampadu’s team in the number ten position.



A winger with much flair, Tormey played just once for the U18s in an injury-ravaged season.

The 17-year-old will be aiming to fully recover in time for pre-season training as he hopes for better luck next time around.


Capable of playing as a left-back or a left-winger, Thompson had a very frustrating season as he featured on just four occasions for the U18s, although he did provide an assist in the defeat to Fulham.

The youngster will have to really make an impact next season if he is to earn a professional contract.




Arsenal made a late decision to give Ballard a scholarship and the centre-back ended up playing 15 times for the U18s, scoring once.

Although he is a little rash in his decision making at times, Ballard is comfortable in possession and should receive plenty of game time next campaign.


The tall centre-back was signed in December after leaving Chelsea and was a key part of the U18 team in the second half of the season.

Medley, who is also capable of playing on the left wing if required, broke into the U23 squad in the closing stages of the campaign as he was named on the bench for the defeat to Sunderland.


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A goalkeeper who was previously on Celtic’s books, Crean signed for Arsenal on a professional contract in late September.

He proceeded to play seven times for Arsenal U18s but kept just two clean sheets.

Arsenal’s Josh Dasilva receives first England U19 call-up

Arsenal youngster Josh Dasilva has been rewarded for his impressive form at club level by receiving his first international call-up. 

The 18-year-old, who was previously a striker but is now often deployed as a deep-lying midfielder, has been included in the England U19 squad for a training camp in Spain ahead of the European Championships for that age group, which will take place in Georgia in July. 

Winger Chris Willock, who has still yet to commit to a new Arsenal contract beyond his current deal that expires at the end of the month, has also been included. 

U20 World Cup round-up: Maitland-Niles assists; Zelalem goes off injured

The U20 World Cup in South Korea is well underway and here’s a look at how Arsenal’s two representatives have fared so far.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – England

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the FA

The prospect came on in the 66th minute as England got their campaign off to a superb start with a 3-0 victory over Argentina.

Maitland-Niles then produced an excellent performance in England’s 1-1 draw with Guinea, providing an assist for Lewis Cook.

The Three Lions conclude their group stage campaign on Friday when they take on the hosts South Korea.

Gedion Zelalem – United States


Zelalem started the United States’ 3-3 draw with Ecuador but had to be substituted in the 34th minute due to injury.

It isn’t clear whether the midfielder will be able to feature in today’s game against Senegal or Sunday’s fixture against Saudi Arabia.


Loan report – Toral and Nwakali score; Asano wins title


Jon Toral concluded his loan spell at Rangers by scoring and playing 75 minutes in the 2-1 victory over St. Johnstone. He was also booked. The Spaniard made 12 appearances for the club, scoring twice.

Kelechi Nwakali scored in the first leg of MVV Maastricht’s 1-1 play-off semi-final draw against Cambuur and then assisted in the second leg as his loan side won 2-1 to set up a meeting with Roda JC.

Calum Chambers played the full game as Middlesbrough lost 3-0 to Liverpool. He made 24 appearances for the club.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma beat Chievo 5-3.

Julio Pleguezuelo played the full game as Mallorca beat Almeria 1-0.

Ismael Bennacer played 74 minutes as Tours lost 3-2 to Ajaccio. He played 16 times for the club, scoring once.

Takuma Asano was an un-used substitute as Stuttgart beat Wurzburger Kickers 4-1 to win the German second division title. He played 26 games for the club, scoring four times.

Joel Campbell wasn’t involved as Sporting Lisbon took on Chaves. He played 19 times for the club, scoring on three occasions.

Aaron Eyoma wasn’t involved as Volendam lost 2-0 to NAC Breda.

Jack Wilshere missed out through injury as Bournemouth drew 1-1 with Leicester City. He played 27 games for the club.


Bennacer: I want to go on loan again, I can’t afford to play for the U23s

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Arsenal midfielder Ismael Bennacer has revealed that he intends to go on loan again next season, stating that he “can’t afford to play in the U23s”.

The 19-year-old has made a significant impact since joining Ligue 2 Tours in January and is open to the prospect of returning to France next season with a Ligue 1 team or alternatively playing in the Spanish top flight.

Bennacer told Onze Mondial: “I have not decided yet. I have an appointment with Arsene Wenger to make an assessment with him.

“I, in my head, would like to be lent another year to continue gaining playing time.

“I am patient, but I also come to an important moment of my career. I can not afford to play in the U23s. If I can be lent a year in Ligue 1 or La Liga, that would be good for my progression.”

Bennacer, who joined Arsenal from Arles-Avignon in 2015, has made one first-team appearance for the Gunners. He has also been capped by Algeria at senior level.

Exclusive: Arsenal to release Savvas Mourgos and Kostas Pileas

Image: Dougie Allward

Arsenal will release youngsters Savvas Mourgos and Kostas Pileas when their contracts expire at the end of next month. 

19-year-old midfielder Mourgos was on trial at Reading recently having been informed by Arsenal that he won’t be offered a new deal. 

The Greek youngster, who joined the Gunners as a scholar in 2014, impressed in some of his fleeting appearances for the U23s this season but has been deemed surplus to requirements. 

Pileas, who can play at centre-back or left-back, will also be let go after two years at the club. 

The Cyprus youth international featured for the U23s and U18s this season but made several errors and wasn’t deemed to be of the quality to make the step up. Pileas has been on trial at Leicester City as he looks to earn a move elsewhere. 

Midfielder Glen Kamara and defender Kristopher Da Graca are also set to be released this summer, while there could be several further departures from the U23 squad.