Nelson, Willock, Cedric, Smith-Rowe and Saliba all included in heavily experienced Arsenal youth game

Experienced youth

Arsenal’s under-23s played out a 3-3 draw against Manchester United in the Premier league 2 on Saturday.

It is not out of the ordinary for youth games to occur on the same day as those of senior sides. However, what was unusual was the level of first-team experience on display in the Arsenal ranks.

From the line-up, Emile Smith-Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Cedric Soares have all appeared, to some degree, for the club’s first-team. Cedric is of course an experienced 29-year-old Premier League performer, and international veteran of the game.

William Saliba was also included in the Gunners’ XI, having been absent for some weeks. Big questions surrounded whether the Frenchman would be sent out on loan this past summer. But, following the close of the domestic window, Saliba is set to remain at Arsenal for at least the next three months.

 Loans galore

Chelsea have made a significant effort to farm players out on loan, in a bid to secure regular first-team experience. This comes with the Blues not only hopeful of a potential future role at the club, but also to increase their out-of-favour stars’ value.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have seen significant success with the sale of a young talent recently. Rhian Brewster joined Sheffield United for £23.5 million, despite having never played in the Premier League.

And Arsenal, in turn, now appear to now be following a similar strategy. 15 players have been sent on loan to gain experience at senior level. The players range from the ages of 19 to 25.

First-teamers, including Lucas Torreira (Atletico Madrid), Matteo Guendouzi (Hertha Berlin) and Konstantinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart) moved away because opportunities under Mikel Arteta were in short supply.

Others have departed to gain valuable experience, amid hopes of seeing first-team football at the Emirates soon.

Of the plethora of Arsenal loan talent, some of the standouts include:

Tyreece John-Jules, who has joined Doncaster. Matt Smith, the FA Cup finalist, who has linked up with Swindon. Jordi Osei-Tutu, who spent last season in Germany, spends the 2020/21 campaign in Cardiff. And finally, Zech Medley, a commanding young centre-back, has moved with fellow Gunner Trae Coyle to Gillingham.

Arsenal will hope that these talents are handed the significant game-time necessary to develop and, of course, raise their value.

See also: Exclusive: “He has the talent to develop into a real top class player.” Former Huddersfield Head of Football Operations heaps praise on Arsenal’s Smith-Rowe

Arsenal show progress despite defeat in Manchester / Gunners will rue chances missed by misfiring forwards


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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