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How Good a Playing XI and Bench Can be Assembled From Arsenal U-24 Players

Arsenal Top 4, year 2022, fans, youngsters

Mikel Arteta has a plethora of youngsters at his disposal at Arsenal. The Gunners have an average squad age of just 25.3 years, well below the league average of 27.13 years. They also have plenty of talented youngsters waiting to burst through the youth ranks into the senior team or looking to make a mark outside the club on a loan. Let us take a look at the best XI Arsenal can line-up in using ONLY players under the age of 24.

Starting XI

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale

Age: 23 Years

Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal, Goalkeeper
Image Obtained Via

Aaron Ramsdale has been in stellar form this season. The Englishman has consolidated his position as the starting goalkeeper in the squad ahead of Bernd Leno. He has affected 48 saves and kept 9 clean sheets in 16 Premier League games so far. Although just 23, he has already played 3 seasons of top-flight football as the first-choice keeper, with Bournemouth and Sheffield United.

Right-Back: Takehiro Tomiyasu

Age: 23 Years

Another new signing, who has quickly settled into Mikel Arteta’s team. Tomiyasu has become a fan-favourite with his diligent efforts and solid performances. The Japanese defender played as a centre-back in the Japanese and Belgian Leagues. At Bologna in Italy, Tomiyasu was used as a provisional right-back, the same position in which he has recorded 15 starts since joining the Gunners.

Right Centre-Back: William Saliba

Age: 20 Years

Arsenal, William Saliba
Image Obtained Via:

After signing from Saint-Etienne, the Frenchman failed to make any sort of impression under Mikel Arteta. However, Saliba was crucial for OGC Nice on a temporary loan spell and made 20 full appearances for Galtier’s men. On a loan once again at Marseille, the centre-back has played every single league minute available under Jorge Sampaoli.

Saliba has looked comfortable in a 3-man back and a 4-man back. Arsenal, currently, do have depth in the centre–back position, with Ben White and Gabriel as undisputed starters. Pablo Mari and Rob Holding offer depth while even Tomiyasu can play in the position. However, Saliba’s impressive form and Mari’s link with a move away could open up a window of opportunity for the Frenchman.

Left Centre-Back: Mazeed Ogungbo

Age: 19 Years

Mazeed Ogungbo
Creator: David Price | Credit: Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mazeed Ogungbo has been a crucial part of the U-23 team this season. The Irishman has 13 appearances and the second-most number of minutes for the side. Ogungbo can also function as an auxiliary left-back.

Left-Back: Nuno Tavares

Age: 21 Years

Nuno Tavares made the switch from the Portuguese side Benfica to the North London side in 2021, for a fee of around €8m (£6.8m). Although the Portuguese full-back was signed as a back-up, an injury to Kieran Tierney presented Tavares with a golden chance to impress Arteta. And the 21-year-old seized the opportunity with both hands, putting in impressive displays in the 6 starts he was given.

Tavares is still raw, and aspects of his game, especially on the defensive front, require polishing. However, he has proven to be more than a solid signing for a relatively low fee. The Portuguese left-back can also function as a contingency winger.

Defensive Midfielder: Albert Sambi Lokonga

Age: 22 Years

Arsenal, Albert Sambi Lokonga
Image Obtained Via:

Another player who has quickly acclimatized to life in the Premier League. The Belgian has already recorded 13 appearances in the Premier League, of which 9 have come in the starting XI. The ex-Anderlecht man has been a calming influence in midfield and a crucial cog in retaining possession and linking defence to attack. Lokonga looks poised to make the defensive-midfield role his own in the coming years.

Central Midfielder: Miguel Azeez

Age: 19 Years

Miguel Azeez is currently on loan at League One side Portsmouth. Born in England, Azeez has been part of the Arsenal academy since the age of 5. He made his first-team debut in the Europa League last season, in a substitute cameo against Dundalk. The 19-year-old midfielder has failed to establish himself as a sure starter on his loan stint. However, his versatility in playing as an attacking or defensive mid-fielder means he could be a useful utility option for Mikel Arteta.

Attacking Midfielder: Martin Odegaard

Age: 23 Years

Martin Odegaard has acquired a lot of experience despite his tender age. The youngster has represented Real Madrid, Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad at the top level. After a successful loan stint in the second half of the 2020-21 season, Odegaard made the switch to the North London side permanent in the summer. The ex-Real Madrid man has 4 Premier League goals and an assist in 16 games so far.

Right-Winger: Bukayo Saka

Age: 20 Years

Bukayo Saka
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It seems impossible to believe that Saka only recently turned 20. The youngster has already established himself as a vital part of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal as well as the National Team. With 3 goals and 4 assists in 18 games this season, Saka has been the face of Arsenal’s rebuild. He has also featured as a left-back and in the midfield too.

Left-Winger: Emile Smith Rowe

Age: 21 Years

Smith Rowe has been effectively utilized as a left-winger or an attacking midfielder in a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 system this season. The Englishman has been Arsenal’s best outlet in the final third and has 7 goals and 2 assists to his name. Dubbed the Croydon De Bruyne, Smith Rowe has quickly risen through the ranks at the club. Over the last year, he has quickly established himself to be an undisputed starter and a key component of Mikel Arteta’s plans.

Centre-Forward: Gabriel Martinelli

Age: 20 Years

Gabriel Martinelli
Image Obtained Via: The Guradian

Gabriel Martinelli has been bogged down by injuries this season. Despite the injuries, the Brazilian has acquired 608 minutes from 7 starts and 4 substitute appearances. Martinelli only had 1252 minutes in the last 2 seasons combined. He also has 4 goals and 2 assists under his belt. With Aubameyang and Lacazette looking to be on their way out, Martinelli could be entrusted with the goal-scoring responsibilities under Arteta for coming years.


Goalkeeper: Karl Jakob Hein

Age: 19 Years

The Estonian has been a constant fixture with the U-23 team for the past 3 years now. This season, he has shared minutes with Englishmen Arthur Okonkwo and Ovie Ejeheri.

Centre-back: Omar Rekik

Age: 20 Years

The Turkish centre-back was bought from German club Hertha Berlin. The right-footed defender has been crucial for the U-23 side this season with 11 appearances so far.

Omar Rekik
(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Defensive Midfielder: Salah Oulad M’Hand

Age: 18 Years

The Dutch midfielder has 4 goals and 2 assists to his name for the U-23 side so far. He received a first-team call up for Arsenal’s Carabao Cup game against Leeds United as well.

Salah Oulad M’Hand
Image Obtained Via: The Athletic

Attacking Midfielder: Kido Taylor-Hart

Age: 19 Years

The Englishman has 2 goals and an assist with the U-23 side from 8 appearances so far. Kido recently signed his first professional contract with the Gunners. He has been with the Arsenal academy since the age of 7.

Attacking Midfielder: Charlie Micheal Patino

Age: 18 Years

Probably the most highly-rated youngster in Arsenal’s academy. Patino scored his first senior goal in his debut against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup. The attacking midfielder is adept at using both feet and can play in the number 8 role as well.

Charlie Patino, Arsenal
Image Obtained Via:

Centre-Forward: Folarin Balogun

Age: 20 Years

Balogun has been absolutely terrific in Division 2 this season. He is the top scorer of the division with 14 goals. He also has 2 assists to his name. The striker also has 2 appearances apiece in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup. Recently, the youngster has been linked with a loan move to the French side St Etienne in January.

Centre-Forward: Eddie Nketiah

Age: 22 Years

Eddie Nketiah has 5 goals to his name for the Gunners in 3 Carabao Cup appearances this season. This includes an impressive hattrick in a 5-1 win against Sunderland. The Englishman also has 3 substitute appearances in the Premier League. Reports indicate that Nketiah could be headed on his way out, after rejecting a contract offer from the club.

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Note-worthy Mentions

Name Age (Years) Position
Arthur Okonkwo 20 Goalkeeper
Mika Beireth 18 Centre-Forward
Joel Lopez 19 Left-Back

Arsenal have a solid core of youngsters already involved with the first-team dynamics. This is supplemented by a solid core of talented players coming through the youth ranks. With effective phasing in and loan deals, the Gunners could try to integrate many of these talents into the first-team for years to come.

Players like Tyreece John-Jules and Nikolaj Moller are also currently on loan after impressive performances in the youth setup. First-team players like Tierney, Partey, White, Gabriel, Mavropanos (on loan) and Pepe are still approaching their best years. Arsenal’s rebuild has paid dividends and it is important to remember that it is still a work-in-progress. But the fact that the Gunners are on the right track is unquestionable.

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Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

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