Arsenal

Has Arsenal’s Home Grown Next Generation Got What It Takes?

Arsenal are famed for their values in bringing through young, talented players into their first team, with manager Arsene Wenger favouring developing players from within rather than indulging heavily into the transfer market.

Here we evaluate the next line of youngsters who are honing their skills with Arsenal, in hope they can reach the promised land of a starting role alongside other ‘home-grown’ players such as Wilshire in the not so distant future.

 Sanchez Watt

The 20-year-old winger has already made three appearances for Arsenal, all coming in the League Cup. Following this he has frequently been loaned out with spells at Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and more recently Crawley.

His key attributes are his speedy movement and his great work rate which saw him impress whilst at Leeds where he helped them gain promotion back to the Championship – he then rejoined them for the next season for a second spell on loan with the club.

This season he was loaned by Sheffield Wednesday in November where he failed to impress, with the club deciding against extending the loan as they thought he didn’t match the physical profile needed to be successful in League One. Crawley Town then snapped Watt up until the end of the season where he helped them gain automatic promotion to League One.

 Benik Afobe

After excelling in the Reserves, the powerful striker was thrown into league action with Huddersfield Town in the 10/11 season.

Very quick and direct, Afobe impressed in his time at the Galpharm Stadium, playing an important role as the Terriers reached the League One Play-Off final. In 36 appearances he scored eight times and shown whoever was on a watching brief from Arsenal that he was definitely one to look out for.

This season he continued to impress in the reserves and was then loaned to Reading where he failed to establish enough game time to make any real impression in his time at the club.

Fans are obviously excited about Afobe and many have recently been calling for his inclusion in Arsenal’s first team next season as they hope the exciting prospect can emerge into an important first team player in the years to come.

 Zak Ansah

Ansah is thought to be one of the most exciting talents to come through the Arsenal ranks since Jack Wilshire.

The 18-year-old striker has proven to be clinical in front of goal but has also shown his versatility by playing as a holding midfielder. After a frustrating campaign for him in 2010/11 where his season was derailed by injury, Ansah has put his Arsenal career back on track and it will be interesting to see how he develops next season.

 Philip Roberts

Having impressed Liam Brady whilst on trial, Roberts was asked to make the move from Norfork to London and he signed from Norwich in 2010.

The Irish youth international is a genuine threat in front of goal which he proved after he made 11 starts for Steve Bould’s Under-18s, scoring four goals in the process. Coaches at Arsenal have high expectations for the forward who will look to progress further in the coming season.

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