Freddie Ljungberg’s Impact, Leipzig Links and who will make it? – An look at the Arsenal Academy with Jeorge Bird

1) Thanks for joining us Jeorge, we have seen many talents such as Bukayo Saka, Zech Medley and Emile Smith Rowe been given first team appearances this season, who do you think is next to card Unai Emery’s eye?

I think that Xavier Amaechi could be next. He’s done very well for the U23s and probably would have played for the first-team already if he wasn’t injured earlier this season. He’s very direct and is a constant threat on the right wing.
Freddie Ljungberg
2) Freddie Ljungberg has come in, what affect has he had on the team and which players in particular do you think have improved?
Ljungberg has introduced quite a complicated style of play, which is similar to Unai Emery’s in some regards as it involves playing the ball out from the back and a swift, counter-attacking style. There have been some difficult moments but the last few performances have been very impressive.
Joe Willock in particular has taken his game to another level under Ljungberg’s guidance. He’s making dynamic runs and scoring a lot of goals.
Defender Dominic Thompson has also developed well under Ljungberg.
3) With Arsenal unlikely to compete financially with some of the other top 6 clubs, do you think that the Arsenal academy could be a good route for money to  be made or to introduce more to the first team regularly?
Yes I think it can be. There are a lot of very exciting players in the academy at the moment and some of them may be able to eventually make it, while others could be sold for a profit. In particular, there are quite a few good wingers coming through at the moment, including Saka and Amaechi, that could potentially save Arsenal a lot of money.
Bukayo Saka causing problems for Qarabag (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka causing problems for Qarabag (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)


4) We’ve seen academy products such as Serge Gnabry and Wojciech Szczesny recently make huge impacts at Bayern and Juventus respectively, what do we have to do in the future to protect assets such as Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe?

I think Arsenal have to ensure that their best prospects have a clear pathway into the first-team because otherwise they’ll consider going elsewhere.

In the case of Eddie Nketiah, for example, he hasn’t really played a lot for the first-team this season so you could understand if he’s frustrated.
5) If you could pick 3 Under 23’s and 3 Under 18’s to break through in the next couple of seasons who would they be and why?
From the U23s, Amaechi, Saka and Willock probably have the best chance. From the U18s I would say Greenwood, Balogun and Cottrell.
6) Finally, we have seen some top European clubs such as Dortmund, Schalke and Monaco come calling for youngsters in youth academies across the country, are there any players in the Arsenal academy who could make an impact following the routes of Jadon Sancho and co?
One player who could go to Germany is Vontae Daley-Campbell, a right-back who plays for the U18s. He hasn’t been given many chances for the U23s and has yet to sign a professional contract having been linked with clubs including RB Leipzig.

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