The two Arsenal academy teams have just enjoyed very successful months and Liam Brady has been impressed with what he has seen so far this season:"The Under-19s have been going from strength to strength," he said. "They have only lost one game this year, that was against Ipswich.

"Don Howe is the coach of that team and they are very well drilled. They are a mixture of under-18s and under-19s and they are doing very well."

"Carlin Itonga has been doing really well for us this season. He has been the main goalscorer in the team. He also got a little bonus by playing for the first team the other night in The Worthington Cup against Manchester United.

"Rohan Ricketts is another one who got a taste of first team football in The Worthington Cup & he is still playing under-19 football as well. There are a few of them who are playing some under-19 football and some reserve team football - for example Jerome Thomas and Sebastian Svard.

"Basically, the make-up of the side has changed a lot throughout the season but we have a lot of good players at under-19 level. They have a winning mentality from The F.A. Youth Cup and they are a good bunch."

As well as experiencing first team football at Highbury, some of the academy players have been representing the respective countries over the last few weeks.

"A couple of them have been playing for England Under-19s recently, Jerome Thomas and Justin Hoyte. Justin has done particularly well because he is giving a year away to the rest of the boys in that squad. I thought he played very well for England the other night.

"We've also got Jeremie Aliadiere, who has been away with the France Under-19s. He is still eligible for our under-19 side but has been with the reserves most of the season. He also got the experience of going over to Germany with the first team for the Champions League game against Schalke, although he didn't get on the pitch.

"Sebastian Svard has been away with Denmark, so we have a lot of the youth players away with their countries as well; it's not just the first team squad who have international call-ups.

Liam is also full of praise for the Under-17 team. Neil Banfield's youngsters have occupied one of the top two places in the league consistently over the last couple of months, after an excellent run of results which has seen them lose just one match since September 15.

Liam said: "The Under-17s have done really well, they have not played badly all season. They had a problem getting a few results early on and then they strung a positive run together and they got to the top of their group. They were a little bit unlucky in two of their recent games. They totally outplayed Wolves and lost a goal in the last minute to draw the match.

"And against Southampton recently, I thought we were at least worthy of a draw. We dominated the second half but couldn't get the goal. But they are playing well and I'm pleased with them. I expect them to do well in the play-offs at the end of the season."

Tottenham are top of the Under-17 table, and are our nearest rivals in the Under-19 group. The Under-17s travel to Tottenham on November 24 and Spurs visit Arsenal to take on the Under-19s on the same day.

Another highlight of November for the under-18 players in the academy is the third round of the F.A. Youth Cup, as the Gunners begin their bid for a third successive title.

But Liam says he believes the squad will have their work cut out to repeat the achievements of the previous two seasons.

"I've said all this season that I'm not as optimistic of winning that as I have been in the last couple of years. It's just the physical strength of our team this year that I'm concerned about. The third round match against Colchester will be a tough test for them."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
14 Nov 2001