No player across Arsenal's two development teams made more appearances than Elton Monteiro during the 2011/12 season.
The ball-playing centre back enjoyed his role as captain for Steve Bould's Under-18s, earning 23 starts along the way to add to his impressive haul the season before.
But perhaps even better for his development, the 18-year-old defender made eight appearances in the Reserves - an experience he valued highly. "I have travelled with the Reserves a bit this season," he said. "There are a lot of senior players in the squad and it is good to see how they prepare before games and their conduct and attitude during the match."
The Club's coaching staff have attempted to nurture Elton into a commanding presence at the heart of defence and by giving him the Under-18s armband, they have demonstrated their faith in him.
Next season will be all about moving into a Reserves side under new stewardship, with a central defensive partnership alongside compatriot Martin Angha a realistic possibility.
“I try to learn from every situation. I work hard in training and am benefitting, but I believe that I have improved because I am a lot more experienced than when I first joined Arsenal and that is the biggest factor. When I first came here I heard people criticise me for being inconsistent. I think the biggest improvement I have made is that my performance levels are higher but I have good consistency now and that has come because I have learnt from different situations. The more experienced you become, the better you become as a player."
Elton earned the Under-18s a share of the spoils in their early-season encounter at Cardiff, converting late in the 88th minute against the Welsh side to secure a 2-2 draw.
|Premier Reserve League||5+3||-|
|Premier Academy League||23||2|
|FA Youth Cup||1||-|