Bloody awesome NSFW avatars
I would LOVE to see Matt Smith get a debut if Project Restart happens.
Won't be surprised if Matt Smith will eventually take over Guendouzi if Guendouzi doesn't start to grow up as a human being! Matt Smith is more on the same wavelength as Arteta!
With Arteta trying to go for more physical midfielders like Partey I think we could see Matt Smith debut as soon as early next season. He will need physical midfielders around him to protect him a bit to start with but he has also been adding some muscle!
Very technical, good passer, and a leader!
Ballard and Clarke are the main 2 that come to mind. Not the tallest guys, but strong and dedicated to defending. Clarke is very tenacious and also very good in possession, while Ballard has great defensive instincts and defends well on the front foot.With us being reported to be losing most of our CB this summer, who are the most highly rated center backs in our academy.
The names I know are Clarke, Medley, Ballard, and Mcguinness.
Who is the most highly rated at the club to make a step up tot he first team (as 5/6 choice)?
I'm undecided. Nketiah's the kind of player who I think turns up for big occasions and has the right mentality to lead the line. It would be hard to lose him, especially as he could probably command top dollar anyway if he stayed here and built his reputation for a bit. TJJ and Balogun are more fleshed out in terms of all-round game, but I don't think Nketiah can be counted out, he's got a habit of transforming expectations. I don't think anyone expected him to outlast all of Akpom, Mavididi and even Donyell Malen to get his shot here first.
TJJ needed to cut his teeth in League One first to be fair to him and it wasn't easy, so it was a good move IMO.
Balogun would have to sign a deal first. It depends what happens with the roster. Most likely scenario is that both TJJ and Balogun go on loan, leaving Greenwood as the fallback.
RE Matt Smith, the closest comparison - one I can't take credit for admittedly - was Toni Kroos which is somewhat accurate. Smith has excellent positional play when it comes to possession and is really taking to the defensive aspect of the game. He's definitely a player who I can see developing into a controller - high volume of touches, creating passing angles, deep progressions, crossfields, short-passing game etc. Easily the most underrated prospect at the club. I didn't think he was all that at first until I started watching him a bit closer. Small things like the way he evades pressure - he's a handy dribbler with good agility, and he appears to have bulked up a little and is better at handling physicality. The choice of pass he usually makes and the regularity with which he executes them. He's one to watch.
Haven't seen as much of him to suggest that he is - that said, he's arguably the most technical player of all of them from what I've seen, but his scoring record isn't as strong. I have a feeling that his position will change - maybe he'll become a wide player or #10. He's certainly more 2nd striker than typical #9.What about Sam Greenwood? Is he not at the same level as these 3?