By Rob Kelly
Neil Banfield is excited about the prospect of a new generation of talent breaking into the reserves set-up before the end of the season.
Serge Gnabry and Jon Toral have made the step up from Steve Bould’s Under-18 side in recent weeks, and more are expected to get their chance over the coming months.
A number of reserve-team players have secured loan spells in January and the resulting turnover of talent will give Banfield the chance to assess some more rising stars.
“It is encouraging to see them breaking into the reserves. They are at a good level, they have done well when they have had their chance and we are noticing that there is a good nucleus of players coming through - it is exciting,” he told Arsenal.com.
“There is a good enthusiasm for this next generation [within the Club] but there always is at this time of year. Although January and February are bad months in general, they are quite exciting for us because we are looking at the young lads who are ready to play in the reserves and they are all buzzing to play.
"We have good conversations with the boss about it. He is aware of what is going on, we give him reports and we have meetings. He watches most games when he can, and he is very interested in what is going on.
“This time of year is a bit disappointing for others in the reserve team because they will move on to pastures new to get their career on the road, but we now look for these younger lads to make the step up here.”
Banfield’s side travel to Swansea tonight and travelling Arsenal fans could get a first glimpse of new signing Thomas Eisfeld, who completed his move from Borussia Dortmund yesterday.
The Gunners were on the brink of victory against the Swans in October until a last-gasp Stephen Dobbie free kick, and Banfield expects another thorough examination of his youngsters in South Wales.
“It is going to be a tough game, but what I tend to look for in my players’ development is the continuation in their play. Yes, we know that we may get physically outgunned now and again, but that will turn,” he said.
“As long as we go out there and play, as long as we deliver a good technical game, that is the development we are looking for.
“It was a very good technical game earlier in the season. The way Brendan [Rodgers] has set Swansea up to play means it is a good tactical battle as well, with a physical element added on.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source