Teamwork makes the dream work

Arsenal’s thrilling Hale Finish star may very well be their very own Kobbie Mainoo


Arsenal taking affect from Manchester United? Ha, now there is a fairly terrible thought to behold.

Beneath their newest managers, Mikel Arteta and Erik ten Hag, the golf equipment have headed in two separate instructions.

Whereas Arsenal are preventing on two fronts, sitting on the prime of the Premier League and within the Champions League quarter-finals, United have been dumped out of Europe and are sixth within the desk, half a dozen factors off Tottenham in fifth.

Why, subsequently, would Arteta take affect from something occurring at Outdated Trafford? Effectively, a sure Kobbie Mainoo stands as a testomony to why it is best to all the time hand alternatives to your younger gamers.

The Arsenal boss is aware of that first hand having been the person to nurture the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, two Hale Finish graduates, however since then alternatives for academy gamers have not been too forthcoming in N5.

Kobbie Mainoo’s rise at Man United

Heading into the 2023/24 marketing campaign the 18-year-old United star had been seen on simply three events at senior stage.

That is hardly a shock actually. That they had spent £70m on Casemiro in 2022 and have been hellbent on utilising the likes of Fred and Scott McTominay.

Whereas Fred has departed Outdated Trafford, the opposite two names stay. But, it is Mainoo who’s shining brightest.


He first began a league outing of their 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park late final yr and since that second hasn’t appeared again. Now a fixture within the England set-up, too good for Gareth Southgate to disregard, Ten Hag can be discovering it tough to drop {the teenager}. Certainly, Mainoo has missed simply two league video games since that Everton win.

What does he supply? Effectively, his coach at U18 stage Travis Binnion paints a slightly good image: “His strengths are shut management, good consciousness, physique contact. He’s actually good in each containers, he’s combative. He’s bought a pleasant mix of many expertise,” he advised The Athletic in 2022.


So, do Arsenal have any gamers like Mainoo of their academy?

Arsenal’s reply to Kobbie Mainoo

Given the meteoric rise of the soccer membership beneath Arteta’s watch in the previous couple of years, the Spaniard hasn’t discovered the chance at hand many first-team possibilities to these within the academy.

One fortunate soul has been Ethan Nwaneri. He turned the youngest participant in Premier League historical past at 15 years, 5 months and 28 days within the 2022/23 marketing campaign when he got here off the bench towards Brentford. Since then Nwaneri has solely been seen as soon as extra after he was substituted onto the sector within the 6-0 victory over West Ham.

Arsenal’s youngest debutants


Age at debut

Yr & opponent confronted

#1 Ethan Nwaneri

15 years, 5 months, 28 days

2022: Brentford

#2 Cesc Fabregas

16 years, 5 months, 24 days

2003: Rotherham

#3 Jack Wilshere

16 years, 8 months, 12 days

2008: Blackburn

#4 Jermaine Pennant

16 years, 10 months, 15 days

1999: Middlesbrough

#5 Paul Vaessen

16 years, 11 months, 11 days

1978: Lokomotive Leipzig

#6 Ryan Smith

16 years, 11 months, 18 days

2003: Rotherham

#7 Gedion Zelalem

16 years, 11 months, 29 days

2014: Coventry

#8 Armand Traore

17 years, 16 days

2006: West Brom

Information through Transfermarkt.

He has a associate in crime, nonetheless, who we’re but to see earn senior minutes; Myles Lewis-Skelly.

Aged 17, the gifted teen has educated with the primary workforce on a number of events and has been fielded in numerous squads with out making the pitch.


Lewis-Skelly was on the bench towards Lens within the Champions League final yr and sat among the many subs for the conflict with Brighton within the league again in December.

It feels a matter of time earlier than the teen makes his debut. Rated extremely extremely by these on the Emirates, he provides comparable qualities to the aforementioned Mainoo.


Primarily a central midfielder, analyst Ben Mattinson has described the Hale Finish star as a “loopy athlete, insane ball-carrier with physicality and tackling capacity.”

A participant able to a lung-busting run ahead to interrupt the traces, Lewis-Skelly is not all simply energy. Like Mainoo he has the technical magnificence to dazzle opponents with Mattinson outlining his “flip radius” as one notable energy.

That is one space the place Man United’s wonderkid thrives too. We noticed that within the dramatic FA Cup quarter-final between Ten Hag’s facet and Liverpool. It is also one thing nationwide workforce boss Southgate has recognized. “To get Kobbie on the pitch was a superb second for him and his household,” he mentioned. “You noticed a few turns and composed moments. There is a little bit of a sign about what he would possibly turn out to be.”

We’re not suggesting we’ll see Lewis-Skelly wherever close to England recognition in a years time however he clearly possesses the identical intricate qualities that makes Mainoo such a particular expertise.

What would possibly set him aside is his versatility. The Commonplace advised final week that he is somebody the senior teaching workers at Arsenal thinks may turn out to be a left-back within the mould of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

For now, nonetheless, they counsel the plan is to maintain him in a no.8 setting, studying from none aside from Declan Rice. That is not a nasty participant to be tutored by, is it?


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