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 Islington Sports News

07:15
Ngolo Kante of Leicester City (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he has been tracking the progress of Leicester midfielder for many years.

Yesterday, 07:45
Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista celebrates scoring (John Walton/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says defender Gabriel is still struggling to grasp the English language.

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere will remain sidelined for at least the next two or three weeks.

Thu, 13:00
Marlon Kizito, Islington BC

Islington BC teenager Marlon Kizito made an impressive return to the ring with a third-round stoppage on the club’s open show at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park.

Thu, 12:00
Islington U11s

Mesdar Woldesus netted twice as a second-half blitz sealed top spot in the group for Islington Under-11s with a 7-3 victory against Tower Hamlets.

Thu, 11:26
Liverpool fans display signs protesting ticket prices in the stands at Arsenal before kick-off. Picture: Nick Potts

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Layth Yousif celebrates a small victory against the club’s penny pinchers, but says there’s a long battle ahead.

Thu, 10:00
Anaconda Swimming Club's Elena Dewhurst

Anaconda SC pair Elena Dewhurst and Andrew Boadi are both among the county’s elite swimmers after scooping gold medals at the Middlesex Championships.

Thu, 09:54
Action from Regent's Park Rovers' (red) 4-0 victory over South London Sharks in the Jack Morgan Cup. Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

El Valiente staged a superb comeback to squeeze into the next round of the Dickie Davies Cup after a 3-2 win over Bethune.

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe