Arsenal starlet joins first-team training ahead of Newcastle United clash

Budding goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo joined Arsenal’s first-team training over the weekend ahead of the Gunners’ Premier League clash against Newcastle United on Monday night.

Unai Emery’s Champions League-chasing set-up travelled to Dubai last week for warm weather training during the international break and Okonkwo, 17, was among the camp as third-choice stopper at Deyan Iliev’s expense.

Upon his return to English soils, Okonkwo was gifted the opportunity to make his debut for Arsenal’s U23 squad. Clasping the chance to impress with both gloves, the highly-rated teenager registered a clean sheet against West Ham United’s equivalent fold last Friday.

Before the fledgling ‘keeper’s emergence, Per Mertesacker’s development string had only recorded two shut outs in their previous nine Premier League 2 fixtures.

Okonkwo is in safe hands in terms of his development in north-London. Though he’s Iliev’s understudy in Mertesacker’s squad, the England U18 representative has sampled life within the senior compliment at an impressionable period of his career and is fast becoming one of the club’s brightest prospects.

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