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The Under-23s Thread

Hunta

Shivering Right Now
Trusted ⭐
I agree. I also think the defenders like Monlouis and Awe have a shot. They certainly have enough raw talent, especially Monlouis even though he still makes some dumb mistakes. After that it will be the next group of players like Duberry, Nwaneri and Skelly to see what they bring to the table.
I don’t reallly consider any CB’s unless they’re obviously top talents. Monlouis and Awe have been rated highly for a couple of years, regularly in the England set up etc but it’s just such a hard position to judge.

The way Arteta manages young players - basically copying how Pep manages them, means you have to be a special talent to get that push. Patino is that level and he’ll be the one they’ll have in mind as the 6/7th midfielder next season I think.

Agree about the younger lads you mentioned, just about keeping them at the club really.
 

Geofranco

Well-Known Member
I don’t reallly consider any CB’s unless they’re obviously top talents. Monlouis and Awe have been rated highly for a couple of years, regularly in the England set up etc but it’s just such a hard position to judge.

The way Arteta manages young players - basically copying how Pep manages them, means you have to be a special talent to get that push. Patino is that level and he’ll be the one they’ll have in mind as the 6/7th midfielder next season I think.

Agree about the younger lads you mentioned, just about keeping them at the club really.
I know it's a hard position for players to break in, but I def believe that both of them have the raw talent. I usually don't pay too much attention to academy defenders, but Monlouis is very talented, it's clear he has all the physical and technical attributes needed, but his decision making and consistency are the big worry. Awe reminds me of Mertesacker, but a more agile version.
 

MutableEarth

Patino's Dad
Trusted ⭐

Would have been with the England u16 along with Nwaneri if he wasn’t injured, think he actually captains them at that level.
He's like silk man. Both of these guys are phenomenal at this stage.

He'll defo be starting at points for the U18s next season IMO. Can see a midfield trio of Nwaneri, Lewis-Skelly and Roberts behind a front 3. Could be likes of Obi and Ferdinand flanking Green or Davies.
 

Hunta

Shivering Right Now
Trusted ⭐
He's like silk man. Both of these guys are phenomenal at this stage.

He'll defo be starting at points for the U18s next season IMO. Can see a midfield trio of Nwaneri, Lewis-Skelly and Roberts behind a front 3. Could be likes of Obi and Ferdinand flanking Green or Davies.
Desperate for them both to sign scholarships here, don’t think they can for another year.

For me they look a level above even Musah and Azeez at that level.
 

MutableEarth

Patino's Dad
Trusted ⭐
Desperate for them both to sign scholarships here, don’t think they can for another year.

For me they look a level above even Musah and Azeez at that level.
Azeez has always coasted on ability alone but Musah was really good at U18 level too.

I'd say they're close to Wilshere levels. I think if we can offer them an ironclad pathway, we're cooking. I could see them usurping a lot of the names in front of them very quickly. I could see Ibrahim doing well aswell because he can play as a 6 but I think he will be the last one that gets overtaken.
 

Geofranco

Well-Known Member
He's like silk man. Both of these guys are phenomenal at this stage.

He'll defo be starting at points for the U18s next season IMO. Can see a midfield trio of Nwaneri, Lewis-Skelly and Roberts behind a front 3. Could be likes of Obi and Ferdinand flanking Green or Davies.
Skelly seems to have a pretty unique style with his movement. But it's clear he loves to dribble. Good thing is he and Nwaneri look physically developed for their age. The same with Omari Benjamin, who had a hattrick in this game, all look powerful, athletic and technical.
 

MutableEarth

Patino's Dad
Trusted ⭐
Skelly seems to have a pretty unique style with his movement. But it's clear he loves to dribble. Good thing is he and Nwaneri look physically developed for their age. The same with Omari Benjamin, who had a hattrick in this game, all look powerful, athletic and technical.
Forgot all about Benjamin. Looks like whatever happens with Edwards, Benjamin is the next #9 they're gonna focus on. Although I think he's still got Green and Davies ahead of him.

But yeah, physically they all look like they can handle themselves.
 

teamsoutheast

Well-Known Member
I'm not sold on Patino yet. He needs to get better physically IMO. In the pre-season game against Borehamwood both him and Azeez struggled against them physically. If he struggles against men in the Vanarama National then imagine what he would be like against Premier League opposition week in week out.... He also seems to put his head down if things don't go too well for him. He needs a loan next season to either L2 or L1 opposition. Let him play in a physical league over a sustained period.
 

Macho

Has Trust Issues With Processes
Dusted 🔻
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By Art de Roché
Jun 7, 2022

Last season consisted of multiple steps forward for Marcelo Flores.

At club level, he began the campaign with Arsenal Under-18s before breaking into the under-23s after the turn of the year. After scoring six goals and assisting twice for the under-18s, he scored five and assisted once for the under-21s/23s. The 18-year-old also made the first-team bench away at Crystal Palace in early April.

He ended the season by confirming he would represent Mexico — Flores was born in Georgetown, Ontario and has a British passport via his mother, who is Canadian but of English descent, while his Mexican father, Ruben, played in the Primera Division with Atlante. After being capped twice in friendlies, Flores Jr has been named in Tata Martino’s 23-man CONCACAF Nations League squad for games against Suriname (June 12) and Jamaica (June 15).




“The change in tempo (is the biggest learning curve),” Flores told The Athletic about stepping into the first-team environment after Arsenal Under-23s’ final game of the season in April.

“Any first team is better than any youth team, so just getting the feel of it is good. Especially for a great country like Mexico. I’m just trying to get used to it and trying to bring what I learn from there here (Arsenal) and vice versa.

“Mikel Arteta looks for a lot in rising talent and work rate is the most important. Everything off the pitch comes first and then the work rate comes before talent. But any time I get a chance, I try and show him who I am and how I can help him in the future.”

Flores, who was initially spotted by Ipswich Town’s youth development coach, Steve Foley — and joined the club’s academy before moving to Arsenal on a free transfer in 2019 — arrived at the under-23s with an urgency both on and off the ball that benefited the side, especially as he has a very clear idea of how he likes to play.

“I prefer playing in a No 10/left-wing position in more of a free role. I like getting the ball to feet, being isolated on the wing and beating a man so I can get in one-v-one opportunities to score goals,” he adds.

“I’m quite a flexible player, I don’t mind playing as a No 9 or on either wing, even as a No 8 and I’ve always been an energetic person so I like pressing a lot.”

All these aspects of his game have been on show when playing at both Meadow Park and Emirates Stadium towards the end of the season. Coming on against Chelsea Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy quarter-final in more of a free role, he applied pressure off the ball to force a turnover before entering the box late to score in a 4-1 win (below).

flores arsenal


(Photo: Getty Images)
Arsenal struggled in a 4-1 loss to Liverpool Under-23s in February, but Flores was a constant threat, injecting pace into the attack with first-time passes and runs in behind, eventually scoring a fortunate goal for his efforts.

Given the fluidity of Kevin Betsy’s set-up, Flores would often start off the left for the under-23s. Yet he will often move around the pitch, switch wings, or go up front. That is a luxury unlikely to come in first-team football but remains beneficial to the development of the player.

“You have to be adaptable when you play for Arsenal,” Betsy said in February. “You have to be able to receive the ball in tight spaces, play wide, play inside and he can play off all four positions: No 7, No 11, No 10 — and he’s also played as a No 9 at times too.”

That adaptability will be particularly important when Flores returns for pre-season with Arsenal, whether it be with the first team or with the under-23s. Arsenal are back in Europe and if he is to be given opportunities in the Europa League group stage — as those matches could be good chances to rest Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and/or Gabriel Martinelli — having a rounded skill set can only help.

There are, of course, areas for the 18-year-old to develop heading into 2021-22 — a fact he is fully aware of.

“I was trying to develop my dribbling and driving with the ball a lot,” adds Flores. “Finishing at top speed is a big thing and I constantly try and improve off both feet.

“There’s a lot of video analysis after sessions, sitting down with coaches who tell me what I can do better. Also, training at Arsenal and away from Arsenal to try and perfect it.”

Arsenal are already benefiting from a player who plays with tremendous urgency both with and without the ball, who can play across the front line and is proficient at finishing at top speed in Martinelli. The Brazil international turns 21 this summer and will likely be fighting for that left-wing spot with Smith Rowe next season.

The competition between the pair throughout the last campaign helped drive Arsenal forward. These different types of players in the same position help Arteta in different ways. The senior squad members, who are used in similar roles, can do the same for Flores when the Mexico international returns to London hoping to take more steps forward in the 2022-23 season.
 

teamsoutheast

Well-Known Member
U23's play Woking tomorrow night at 7:45 for their first pre-season game. Was thinking of going to this one as I like to try and go to a few of the pre-season friendlies to gauge how we do against physical opposition. For those interested, tickets can be purchased online from Woking FC's website:

 

MutableEarth

Patino's Dad
Trusted ⭐
U23's play Woking tomorrow night at 7:45 for their first pre-season game. Was thinking of going to this one as I like to try and go to a few of the pre-season friendlies to gauge how we do against physical opposition. For those interested, tickets can be purchased online from Woking FC's website:

I'd reach this but I'm gonna be teaching at that time. I'll keep an eye out for the next available one. If there's still tickets for the Emirates Cup, might reach that one instead.
 

teamsoutheast

Well-Known Member
Aghhhhhh what the hell, got myself a ticket to go to this in the end. Having a stressful day so decided to de-stress and treat myself to watching the U23's. :lol: Surprised we haven't heard much in terms of replacements for both Betsy (who ironically played for Woking during his playing career) and Michiche. I know Jack Wilshere has been linked but haven't heard of any solid names. I'm sure Per has this under control though and is in full flow of lining up appointments. Anyway, here's the team news taken from Woking's website:

 

teamsoutheast

Well-Known Member
Backline seems mostly u18. U23 regulars Azeez and Hutchinson both start. Flores also starts along with Khayon Edwards up front.
 

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