Search

All Guns Blazing: Gedion Zelalem and Dan Crowley can make the grade, but it won’t be easy

17:21 27 August 2014

Gedion Zelalem, Arsenal

Gedion Zelalem, Arsenal

EMPICS Sport

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, AFC Youth blogger Jeorge Bird looks at arguably the club’s two best youth prospects and their chances of breaking into the first team this season.

Dan Crowley, England U17Dan Crowley, England U17

For an academy that lists Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas amongst its alumni, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that two of Arsenal’s most vaunted current prospects are central-midfielders.

Gedion Zelalem and Dan Crowley may have taken vastly different paths to get to this stage, but the pair, who both specialise in unlocking opposition defences with precise passes, are tipped for incredibly bright futures.

Zelalem, who was spotted by Arsenal whilst eplaying in the United States, has already sampled first-team action, having made his debut in the FA Cup last season whilst also impressing during several pre-season fixtures.

Crowley, acquired from Aston Villa last Summer, is yet to feature for Arsene Wenger’s side, but has drawn rave reviews for his performances for the youth teams. A highlight was the demolition of Peterborough United in the FA Youth Cup last season when he scored two goals and set up the other four in a 6-1 win.

Zelalem, who is excellent at playing precise through-balls, has struggled for consistency at U21 level, despite his considerable talent. The German youth international is often outmuscled easily and needs to improve his tactical understanding.

If he can rectify those flaws, however, then he has every chance of making the grade. Confident in possession and very skilful, he has evoked memories of Fabregas at times with his passing. It will take a little longer for Zelalem to break into the team than the Spaniard did, however, and he is being allowed to develop in the U21s for now.

Crowley tends to embark on more dribbles than Zelalem and usually operates in the number 10 position, although he has been deployed on the left flank in recent U21 games. Confident in his own ability and capable of bringing the best out of others as well as himself, it is easy to see why he is so highly regarded.

Both players, despite their considerable promise, will have to be patient for opportunities. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are already in the first-team squad, so it may be some time yet before Zelalem and Crowley are able to establish themselves as regulars.

For now they are seeking to improve day by day by working on their flaws. The Capital One Cup could provide them with an opportunity to demonstrate just how far they have progressed and, if they can catch the eye in that competition, then further involvement with the senior team may follow.

Follow me @JeorgeBird

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 14:00
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (left) and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas in action during the 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium.

Olivier Giroud has urged Arsenal to concentrate on nailing down the runners-up spot in the Premier League following their stalemate with champions-elect Chelsea.

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Lianne Sanderson (right) celebrates with Natalia Pablos Sanchon after the Spanish striker's goal against Millwall. Pic: TGSPHOTO

Striker Lianne Sanderson is determined to play her part in recapturing a winning mentality at Arsenal Ladies in her second spell with the club.

Thursday, April 23, 2015
New Zealand's James Franklin bats

James Franklin is hopeful his bag of allsorts will give Middlesex plenty of options on the last stop of his cricketing journey.

Most read sport

Competitions

Two phones. Same phone case. Genius.

To celebrate the launch of the first luxury dual phone case, PearPeel, we are giving away two of the black leather Rocha cases, perfect for holding two iPhone 6 handsets.

Spruce up for spring with this beauty bundle from Justmylook!

Looking to update your look for spring? Well, you’re in luck.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder