The new Arsenal of youngsters, who are they?

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An introduction to Arsenal’s schoolboys this season by @AFCAcademy

This season Arsenal fans would have seen our academy bring in five new talents to Colney, and lose 14. To start, 16-year-old attacking-midfielder Daniel Crowley, capped at U16 level for England and Ireland, and now England’s U17 side. Spanish right back Julio Pleguezuelo, yet to be capped internationally. Late into the summer we saw Arsenal bring in Swedish striker, Jamaal Raage, the 16 year old is also capable of playing on the left wing, but recentely announced he would leave to go back home just after 6 months in England, his reason is unknown but we wish him the best of luck in the future. Centre back Semi Ajayi put pen to paper to keep him at the club professionally for another 2 years, after a successful trial, and English Goalkeeper Matt Macey followed a few weeks later.

Not to forget we signed 16-year-old German wonderkid Gedion Zelalem in January, he travelled with the first-team on Asia Tour this summer, later to be fast tracked a spot in the first team; along side German teammate Gnabry.

Goalkeepers
Harry Girling – 15
English
1998

A great shot stopper for the U16s, he takes great command of his area and very vocal. He’s over the average height for his age and has an extremely high jump that helps him to get those high deliveries. He’s featured for the U16s since he was 14, and only this season has he managed to breakthrough as 1st choice after countless impressive performances season for the U15s last season.

Corey Addaie – 16
English
1997
Addai is the only competitor to Girling to earn a scholarship for the 2014/15 season.

Defenders
Tyrell Robinson – 15
English
1997
A hard-working left back full of energy on the pitch, he is very pacey and when attacking on the flanks the opposition struggle to defend against, this season Robinson has had his name on the scoresheet twice. Even more so, Robinson first made his U18 debut halfway through last season, and already he has been involved with the U18s 10 times so far this season. He hopes to be a first year scholar for next season, and the likelihood is great, Robinson provides a lot for any coach at Arsenal.

Tolaji Bola – 14
English
1999
Tolaji has recently been playing 2 years above his level and coping well. The center back has a strong physique and is quite rangy for his age, this helps him put in those important tackles and climb to clear the ball when in the air. Bola has had a chance under Laraman 8 times this season, and last season he started consecutively against Man City and Blackburn as left back.

Jayden Thorbourne – 14
English
1999
Athletic left back for the U16s, who has progressively started gaining experience playing and training competitively for the U18s this season. Thorbourne enjoys his football at Arsenal and is a hard worker.

Chiori Johnson – 15
English
1998
A right back who is capable of using his talent on the wings as well, similar to Bellerin. Johnson had a good pre-season with the U18s tour in Germany as he made his competitive debut at that level against Sunderland 2 weeks later. He’s promising.

Midfielders
Harry Donovan – 14
English
1999
Harry is a centre midfielder that can tackle, pass and dribble. Even more so, the youngster can play deep or in the No. 10 role; his concentration and intercepting skills helps, his eye for a shot from long range is impressive. Donovan made his debut for the U18s April 2013, when just turning 14 in January. After playing for the U15s last season, we’ll see the midfielder step up to the U16s on a regular basis this season, featuring for the U18s once.

Chris Willock – 15
English
1998
Willock , named ‘Player of the Tournament’ of the Nike Cup back in May and the tournament in Singapore 2 months later. The midfielder is a job to watch, reminding you the beauty of the game. The English youngster is capable of playing in the No. 10 role, or on either wing, and even as a centre forward, that’s the whole attack. Willock is a major prospect within the U16s squad; though he is still eligible to play for the U15s the prospect has already made 3 starts for the U18s just this season, and come off the bench another 7 times. Chris has even been called up for the U19s in the UEFA Youth League, he is certain to earn himself a scholarship for next season. His younger brother, Joe, is also a player to watch, his older brother, Matt, is at man Utd.

Ovie Ejaria – 15
English
1997
The youngster has an attacking mind with great vision. His delivers are impressively accurate; this has helped him have consecutive assists last season for the U15s. Ejaria has had a small, but fulfilling, role for the U8s this season and will enjoy fighting for a starting place as more U21s go out on loan, or suffer injuries so U18s players will be called up. It’s a regular chain we’ll be season with many players.

Aaron Eyoma – 15
English
1997
The U16 player is another English that is suited to the No. 10 role. Aaron has an notable talent of picking out any player on the pitch (that plays for Arsenal!) and never makes his football too complicated, but elegant at the same time. Eyoma also has a great ability to shoot at range; there’s no wrong in being ambitious at such a young age.

Forwards
Stephan Mavididi – 15
English
1998
The young striker’s career with Arsenal is looking to be successful; Steph made his U18s debut early October, in an away loss to Aston Villa, Mavididi had no trouble finding the back of the net. Even more so, his pace is at a calibre that most defenders can’t compete with, this is a great trait to have and he makes use of it very well, causing havoc on the pitch is what he loves best and rarely ends in fail. Mavididi has a great chance of becoming a first year scholar next season; his recent inclusion at a high level shows a lot about the striker. I hope to see him as a 1st year next season.

Kaylen ‘Kay Kay’ Hinds – 15
English
1998
Hinds is naturally gifted. Already starting for the U18s this season at 15 is striking and without question he’ll be given the chance to be a first year scholar ASAP, the striker has already featuring for the U19s in the UEFA Youth League. The forward loves to cut in, and isn’t scared to try something new, which is good as Hinds has the capability of distributing the ball with ease. Hinds made his England U16s debut early October playing Wales u16s in the Victory Shield Cup, though he had 3 good chances to hit home, it wasn’t his day to score; nevertheless he stood out.

Olufela Olomola – 16
English
1997
Olomola, coming off the U18s bench twice, but usually with the U16s. The youngster has a cool finish, but it seems he needs more chances to score than it would do with the other prospects at the club. Laraman rates Oluefela highly and believes he has a future with the club.

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Words by @AFCAcademy
Photo of Dan Crowley by Kieran Clarke

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