If we get our timing right this article should be published on the occasion of our next Arsenal Youth Star’s 18th Birthday. (Happy Birthday!)
Of course, we have had many special players younger than 18 grace the Arsenal first team and one such individual – Bukayo Saka – also broke through on the left wing, the position played by our birthday boy, Kido Taylor-Hart who is our youth expert John Williamson’s choice for this week’s interview.
GT: Not much is known regarding Kido Taylor-Hart, John – so let’s start with a bit of background history.
Response: I first saw Kido play in an U12 Tournament in Ypres, Belgium. As an 11-year-old, Kido came across as a central midfielder who was light weight but possessed a maturity in his play and there was something that made him stand out with his energy and positive attitude.
Over the years, I have seen Kido play further forward, though he is best known for his play out on the wing. I have seen him play effectively as a number 10, linking up between the midfield and strikers; Kido has a decent left foot and is able to put a good cross in.
GT: I understand Kido’s first year as a scholar for the U18s was disrupted by injury after he starred for the U16s in 2018/19
Response: Unfortunately last season was a bit stop-start due to injuries, however Kido managed to get around 10 matches under his belt and he scored a goal. Kido is a consistent performer who rarely looked out of place against opponents who were often a year above him.
If there’s a plus with his injuries, it’s that it has kept Kido under the radar: therefore there has been less pressure on him from fans.
GT: Obviously having a truncated 19/20 season will put more pressure on the young man to shine this season as he bids for a professional contract. Is he up to the challenge (from what you know of him)?
Response: Kido is a player I know the Academy has high hopes for. I fully expect him to be a regular for the U18s and get his reward with a pro contract before the 2020/21 season is out.
GT: I have seen him compared more to Nelson than Saka, as a tricky, skilled winger. Is that a fair comparison and what would you see has his main strengths and attributes?
Response: I know that Kido looks up to Reiss Nelson and has similar attributes with his style and flair. Kido certainly has the ability to emulate his hero, perhaps progressing further.
GT: I note he has started this season well with an assist in the win against Southampton. He also played a full 90 in the defeat of Spurs. Did you see the matches and if so, did KTH impress you?
Response: Unfortunately, due to the Virus, I have been unable to see any matches live. I have watched some highlights and Kido has looked good. In a recent home match against Crystal Palace, he set up a goal for Khayon Edwards to score in a 3-2 win as well as those you have stated.
GT: Can he push on and perhaps play up? I think he may have worked on his muscles and physicality whilst injured so that may help as I heard it
Response: 2020/21 is a big season for Kido. I believe he has what it takes to become a regular in the U18s and hopefully will get chances at U23 level.
Like most players coming through the Academy, once they become fulltime scholars training at London Colney those that are considered light in stature are put on a regime to build up their muscles as they reach maturity… Kido is one of those going through that process.
GT: Do you expect him to win a pro contract and if so when is that likely to be offered? Early in 2021?
Response: I do expect him to be offered a pro contract. This can happen at any time and may have already happened. The Arsenal policy is to get them signed up as soon as possible, even though It is never announced until the correct time.
GT: As always at a big club like Arsenal, he will have a traffic jam of talent to navigate – but if he earns a deal, I assume he will play a full season next year with the U23s?
Response: As discussed in earlier interviews, I suspect the way forward for Kido is to play in and around the U23s next season and, dependent on progress, be loaned out in 2022/23.
GT: A tough Willowmeter this week on a player who may not have even signed pro terms with Arsenal, however you have watched him for years and I sense you think he is special?
Response: Having seen Kido from an early age, following his progress through the years, I feel he has a good chance to make his mark for The Arsenal. Should he remain injury free, I can see a solid 14/20.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.