Arsenal starlet Dominic Thompson: Hitchin Town run-out good for my progress

Dominic Thompson plays against Hitchin Town. Picture Peter Else

Dominic Thompson plays against Hitchin Town. Picture Peter Else - Credit: Archant

Young Arsenal starlet Dominic Thompson says the experience he gained from playing against battle-hardened older players from Southern League Premier side Hitchin Town on Wednesday evening will stand him in good stead as he aims to progress his career.

Taff Moore shields the ball at Top Field. Picture: Peter Else

Taff Moore shields the ball at Top Field. Picture: Peter Else - Credit: Archant

The youngsters lost by the odd goal in three at Top Field after Canaries’ forward Liam Brooks put the home side ahead on the half hour mark by coolly slotting past the Gunners goalkeeper Hugo Keto.

Number seven Jodi Osei-Tutu equalised for the Gunners with three minutes remaining before half-time, but home team captain Dan Webb powered a thumping header into the net moments before the break. Despite an open game with both sides creating chances in a full-bloodied match played in a good spirit the home team triumphed.

The talented 18-year-old defender – who played on the left in last season’s match with Hitchin – analysed his latest performance against the team from North Herts saying: “When I came on I think I tried very hard to make an impact but unfortunately the result wasn’t what we wanted.

“The team did their best and gave their all but it wasn’t to be.

Dominic Thompson. Credit Arsenal FC

Dominic Thompson. Credit Arsenal FC - Credit: Archant

“Playing against a team like Hitchin is great for our development as you learn more from playing against tough men’s teams.

“We’ve all started from grass-roots level so coming to places like Top Field is a nice experience.

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“To play against older players is a good experience.”

Former Arsenal youth starlet Kaylen Hinds – who played and scored in the same fixture last season – joined League Two side Stevenage on loan towards the end of the campaign before he was signed by former youth academy supremo Andries Jonkers and under 15s coach and former Invincible Freddie Ljungberg at Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.

His progress is a beacon to Thompson who is hungry for a career as a professional footballer.

Reflecting on his colleague’s step-up Thompson added; “It’s vital that we learn from games like this to further our career.

“We’re at the stage now where we’ve got to change and cope with playing against men. A small boy like me has to learn to cope.”

The scholar in the final year of his contract added: “My ambition and my target is to get a professional contract and stay at Arsenal.”

Boss Kwame Amapadu agreed the evening was beneficial to the progress of his charges.

The former Arsenal player now manager of the Under 18 team was not disheartened at the loss to the Southern Premier League side who have narrowly missed out on promotion to the Southern League South division after losing in the play-offs for the past two seasons.

Speaking on the pitch immediately after the game he said: “It was a really good exercise for our boys to come to Hitchin.

“It’s a really good pitch, they try and play football too and pass the ball around.

“It was a really good test for us as they’re playing against men.

“Games like this are very important for our players development because they have to see all aspects of the game – tackles that are going to come in, the physicality of it, the aggression – and then they’ve got to work out where spaces and angles are so it was a really good game for us.”

Looking forward to the forthcoming season Ampadu added: “Our targets as ever are to keep improving these boys, pushing as many boys up and forward as we possibly can and we’ll see where it gets them.”