We’ve talked a lot so far this season about the potential of some of our youngsters. Unai Emery started the ball rolling using Nelson, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Martinelli and Saka sparingly and now some of those are starting games for us.
Arteta (and Freddie before him) has continued to allow these talented young players to grow in the first team and in front of our eyes. Eddie Nketiah was brought back from a loan to Leeds where he wasn’t getting game time and last Sunday started in the Centre-forward position alongside Pepe and Aubameyang. He was unlucky not to bag a goal, having a terrific shot rebound of the post but that meant that Martinelli missed out.
The player that has impressed me the most is Saka. I’m sure that with all his attacking prowess he would not have expected to get minutes in the first team as a left-back. There was an interesting quote from him yesterday which, to me, sums up what an intelligent young man he must be.
Saka: “In the future if I do get to go back onto the wing I feel like I know how full-backs play and playing as a full-back I know what wingers do, what I like them to do and what I don’t like them to do. It’s a good learning experience for me.”
So yesterday, Rocky posed this question on the blog, it was rhetorical but lets explore what people think about the diamonds we might have produced.
I can’t quite make my mind up about Guendouzi’s ceiling.
At times I feel he could grow into a Vieira/Yaya type of player. At other times (when he’s running round like a headless chicken), not so much.
I would rank our young up-and-comers in this order based on their potential:
I know that seems harsh on Eddie, but it’s tough to make it as a central striker and we’ve seen many promising candidates over the years burn brightly for a short while before fading away. I hope Eddie is an exception.
I don’t feel I’ve seen enough of Smith-Rowe to include him at this stage but I know many fans rate him very highly.
How would you rank our youngsters in terms of their potential?