The Under-23s Thread

Geofranco

Well-Known Member
Hard to compare.

Could make an argument that the talent Patino is coming up alongside is lightyears ahead of what Wilshere played with and against at the same age, thus potentially not looking as much of a standout talent.

Wilshere def looked more talented from what I saw from him back then compared to Patino right now, don't care what any of the scouts are saying.

One of the academy guys was also saying it's best for Saka to develop as a wingback cause he doesn't have the same ability like Sane in tight spaces.

From the academy, it was pretty easy to see Saka had the technical ability to play as a winger for Arsenal. Maybe you could question his explosiveness and first touch could be sus at times, but his close control, dribbling, crossing and shooting technique in the academy looked dangerous.

He never looked phased in tight spaces and was amazing on the half turn. I like Patino cause you have a clear idea of the player he can develop into.

Think he is going to be the type that will take a while to be ready, but can def be class in his 20s. I think people get to obsessed with the teenage wonderkid breaking through and making things happen. Most of the all-time great players were not teenage wonderkids like Rooney, Fabregas, Messi, Mbappe, Ronaldo De Lima etc.
 

yousif_arsenal

King of Twitter Rumours
Moderator

This guy has special something. Confidence comfertable tow footed and great dribbling skills won't be long we see him with first team if he keep growing I'm not ruling out him being with first team soon. Him and Azeez can save us millions if they keep developing.
 
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AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
Think he is going to be the type that will take a while to be ready, but can def be class in his 20s. I think people get to obsessed with the teenage wonderkid breaking through and making things happen. Most of the all-time great players were not teenage wonderkids like Rooney, Fabregas, Messi, Mbappe, Ronaldo De Lima etc.
I would give an alternative view to this.

In American sports there's been a lot of analytical research put into this, and the overwhelming conclusion is: the better (more proven at a higher level) a player is at a younger age, the better trajectory / talent / possibilities he tends to have. In baseball just a year of age changes dramatically how a player's statistical output is considered wrt to his level of competition, in basketball the same. The three being skill + athleticism sports, I don't think there's much doubt that it applies to football, even if we might not have quite the same hard data (though I'm not sure that's even true; I remember statsbomb pointing out certain underlying statistics for Sterling and Sturridge way back when, defending their talent and projection level for their ages on this very basis, when it was en vogue to hate on them and their potentials).

You list all those players but this is really the rule; look at all the top players, and most of them were making their first-team breakthrough around 18-19 if not earlier. Neymar, Gnabry, Sané, Coman, Goretzka, Bernardo Silva, Foden, Torres, Havertz, Pulisic...you can basically list every important PL attacker or advanced midfield player here, even players we consider somewhat late bloomers like Salah and de Bruyne were important prospects and bought by big clubs at a young age. You get a couple of exceptions to this rule like Ribery and Mané, players who typically take different career paths and are discovered a bit later because of playing in lesser leagues, but the majority are all breaking through into the first team and showing an acumen at the top level by age 18 or 19 at the latest.

It's position dependent, though, midfielders, especially midfielders of Patiño's sort (6s), and CBs of course even more so, tend to move slower (for obvious reasons considering the importance of tactical intelligence and decision making, things that develop less rapidly and need more first-team acclimating to go developing, in these positions) so expectations there need to be scaled back accordingly.

Long story short: I actually agree with your take on Patiño more or less, because of his position, but the general rule is that the earlier the better, and without doubt the faster he is moving and the more acumen he is showing at higher levels at younger ages the better.

Dunno why this came to me while writing this post (I guess because he's a 6 who made an early breakthrough), but people who watch the championship, what do you think of Han Noah Massengo? @carlito'sway maybe you follow him since his time in France? Could be an interesting target as well for us to replace Xhaka, from what I've seen and read of him?
 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
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Bad timing for arguably one of our biggest prospects.

It puts Reuell Walters' ascent into the spotlight on the other hand:

My journey to join the Arsenal Academy has been a crazy one, but let’s start from the beginning…

When I really think back to my love for football, it all started with playing for my Sunday league team, Peckham Town, and scoring a goal from the halfway line! I remember that feeling when I scored and once you get a taste for the game like that that’s it, you’re in.

My mum and dad were always so supportive and they were the key figures that started it all, but after meeting Chris Lock, my first proper football coach, that changed everything. He has played a massive part in my football career, so much so that he’s actually my godfather now!

Under his guidance we won every single season that we played under him and I’m pretty sure that almost all of our team ended up in professional academies. A few went to Wimbledon, some went to Chelsea, and there was another baller in the year above me who you’ll probably recognise… Omari Hutchinson!

Chris was brilliant for me and every player that played under him will say the same. At that age he hardly did anything on the tactical side – it was all about making it as fun and competitive as possible. He was drilling into our heads that everything we do matters, and we should always put 100 per cent into it. I loved it.

I ended up playing there until I was nine and that’s when I was scouted by Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Tottenham. We did a lot of research and decided that Tottenham would be the best place for my development. I stayed with them for the next four years of my life and they eventually offered me another two-year contract, but this is when I made the biggest decision of my career so far.

At that time, I was permanently playing with the age group above, but I felt like over the years I’d lost my way with what makes me stand out on a football pitch and I was becoming a player that I didn’t want to be. I wasn’t attacking like I used to, I wasn’t as confident as I used to be, and I wasn’t showing what I thought I was capable of. I felt like being in an academy made me try to play a certain way and I was almost playing within myself.

In that moment, my dad and I made the decision together that I would take a break from academy football and focus on myself again. That break would last nearly two years and I used almost every moment to challenge and improve myself. It was a really scary and risky decision, but I knew there was more to come from me and that I needed this break.

We were doing hours and hours of 1v1 coaching, going to games for the tactical side, going to the gym and spending a lot of time in athletics too. After two years I felt like I was ready to go for trials again and that’s when Manchester United scouted me. I turned up and almost instantly they told me that they wanted me to join them for the NI Super Cup. I had an amazing time there and I really felt like I was back to being the player I used to be, but at the end of the trial the papers fell through. The Premier League told United that they had too many players and I couldn’t sign. I was gutted and that’s when Covid struck, but then I got my chance here in north London.

For me, football is all about winning your battles and being able to make an impact on the game. Sure, going backwards is great for keeping the ball, but you can get so carried away with playing safe that you’re harming your team and it’s not advancing the game. I’m always trying to hit the areas that cause teams trouble, and that’s what Arsenal has allowed me to do – to be myself on the pitch!

When I came here, it didn’t just feel like a club, it felt like a family. I walk into the training ground and I’m saying hello to the kit men, the kitchen staff, everyone! I love that and when I feel comfortable in an environment, I feel like I can flourish and be the best version of myself.

I was only saying to my dad the other day, it’s crazy to think that two years ago I wasn’t even at a club and now I’ve made by under-23s debut at just 16. That was an incredible experience for me, but my entire time here at Arsenal has been amazing and I’ve got to thank all the coaches, staff and players for that. Now I’m hungry for more opportunities.

The nominal RB for the U18s thrust into the U23 team early on. Kinda what happened to BNC last season!
 

drippin

Well-Known Member
Karl Hein agreed to a long term contract, his earlier contract would have ended next summer.

193 cm with 10 caps for Estonia being 19,5 years old. Played 90 minutes against Wales in a 0-0 draw in WC qualification a while ago.

Great to have a couple promising youth GK's at the club, in addition to Ramsdale of course.

Next year we could sign Johnstone for free to replace Leno, have him battle out with Ramsdale, and later have a path for our youth keepers to the team as Johnstone is almost 30 now.

(But Pope and Onana could be cheap options too.)

 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
Trusted ✔️
Karl Hein agreed to a long term contract, his earlier contract would have ended next summer.

193 cm with 10 caps for Estonia being 19,5 years old. Played 90 minutes against Wales in a 0-0 draw in WC qualification a while ago.

Great to have a couple promising youth GK's at the club, in addition to Ramsdale of course.

Next year we could sign Johnstone for free to replace Leno, have him battle out with Ramsdale, and later have a path for our youth keepers to the team as Johnstone is almost 30 now.

(But Pope and Onana could be cheap options too.)

Some interesting battles coming up in the GK position now.

Hein v Okonkwo - two very talented, equally gifted keepers IMO. Most fans seem to prefer Hein due to being an interenational, but I still think Okonkwo is the more talented of the two and if he can accelerate his development and get his nerves sorted out, he's a top class keeper.

Ejeheri vs Grazcyk is another one. Both very good on the deck, very competent shot-stoppers too. Ejeheri is an excellent passer of the ball, definitely in the Onana mold. A lot of work to do but very promising.
 

Geofranco

Well-Known Member
Some interesting battles coming up in the GK position now.

Hein v Okonkwo - two very talented, equally gifted keepers IMO. Most fans seem to prefer Hein due to being an interenational, but I still think Okonkwo is the more talented of the two and if he can accelerate his development and get his nerves sorted out, he's a top class keeper.

Ejeheri vs Grazcyk is another one. Both very good on the deck, very competent shot-stoppers too. Ejeheri is an excellent passer of the ball, definitely in the Onana mold. A lot of work to do but very promising.

What the hell happened to Catalin Cirjan? Also have not seen Zach Awe feature for either to U18 or U23, I wonder if he is injured.
 

Mrs Bergkamp

Established Member
Trusted ✔️

Bad timing for arguably one of our biggest prospects.

It puts Reuell Walters' ascent into the spotlight on the other hand:



The nominal RB for the U18s thrust into the U23 team early on. Kinda what happened to BNC last season!
Nice interview with Walters and music to my ears when he said playing too safe and going backwards could be harmful to the team. I hope he dies well with us and this mentality isn't lost on transition to the first team.
 
I'm someone who's very cautious in terms of hyping young talent, but I firmly believe the club never had a talent wealth in the academy levels as they do have now, and I've been supporting Arsenal since 1997. Can confidently say that all of Hein, Ballard, Norton-Cuffy, Azeez, Patino, KTH, Hutchinson, and Balogun definitely have a future in the Club. Okonkwo, Akinola, TJJ, and Piereth all have a shot but still some question marks over their development.
I would go as far as saying if Sambi develops well this season I won't make a marquee signing in CM and instead give more opportunities to at least one of Patino or Azeez and put all the money for CF. Hein could also be more than an adequate cover for Ramsdale, especially with the maturity and experience he is obtaining from senior international football, but I'm afraid the club is inclined to cash on him and put the faith in Okonkwo instead, perhaps because the latter is English
 

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