Arsenal have previously been criticised for the lack of British players in the team but over the past few years those critics have been proved wrong.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was once lambasted for signing too many foreign players in his team but that’s proved incorrect with many stats saying the complete opposite.
43 English players have played at Arsenal under the management of Wenger while only 24 French internationals have been involved during his 18-year tenure as manager.
The club have been working very hard to give youth players first team football as much as possible. The British/English core is even more prominent in our Academy.
We have a lot of talented English players and some of them are still very young but potentially look like some of England’s brightest talents.
In Part 1 of ‘who are Arsenal’s latest batch of British youngsters’, I’ll be profiling 4 up and coming starlets currently within the Gunners’ youth system.
Josh Vickers (Goalkeeper)
Aged just 18-years-old, Vickers is very talented and has been on loan for most part of the season at Canvey Islands and has done an incredible job having impressed both their coaches.
He has established himself as a regular goalkeeper for the U18s this season and has faced competition from Ryan Huddart who signed his first professional contract weeks ago.
Josh is a great goalkeeper that has ‘good hands’ and quick feet that always helps him out in getting back up and going for the return shot. He’s a goalkeeper with excellent reflexes and great distribution skills.
He has established himself further with several heroic saves and performances in the FA Youth Cup this season.
Vickers is definitely one of the few British players to look out for in the future.
Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill (Defender)
Known as ‘BOO’ by team-mates, Brandon has established himself as a regular starter for the U21’s this season and has his place in the team guaranteed.
He enjoyed a highly-impressive season and signed his first professional contract with the club last year after he represented Arsenal at four different age levels.
Brandon’s an impressive reader of the game and makes timely interceptions, good crosses and has improved a lot over the last few months.
He started well with the U18’s last season but was quickly promoted to the U21’s and hasn’t moved from there since. With Nacho Monreal getting older and losing the grip whenever he plays, it wouldn’t be surprising if Brandon gets his first team football once Monreal’s contract expires.
Brandon has the chance to establish himself as the second choice left back once Nacho leaves and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as Kieran Gibbs’ understudy.
BOO has trained with the first team on few occasions this season and is highly rated by Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould.
Tafari Moore (Defender)
Tafari is a young, athletic right back who earned his scholarship with some quality performances at the end of last season.
He stepped his game up when it was needed most while Hector Bellerin was out on loan at Watford.
Tafari’s very good when going forward and an amazing crosser of the ball. His tackling is perfect but needs improvement on his decision making under pressure.
He’s likely to establish himself as a regular U21 right back next season with Bellerin expected to be sent out on loan again.
A talented defender with excellent distribution, Tafari has established himself as a regular England U17’s starter over the last few months. Future star.
Isaac Hayden (Midfielder/Defender)
Recently signed his second Arsenal contract and committed his future here at our club, Isaac Hayden has established him as the young leader of our youth teams.
Isaac has enjoyed an very impressive season with the U21’s and has done an extremely good job in the defensive midfield position next to Kris Olsson.
Originally joined from Southend at the age of 9, Hayden offers protection to the back four, is strong on the ball and does a tremendous job in possession.
Also a good tackler and calm penalty taker, Isaac is gradually being moulded into a centre back worthy of wearing the captain’s armband.
Arsene Wenger has described Hayden as a player whose key assets are concentration, intelligence and strength. Hayden could be the academy product who can eventually succeed Per Mertesacker and Tony Adams.
Isaac is a focused and confident player who reads the game well. One for the future.
With thanks to Kieran Clarke [@KieranCPhoto] for the photos.