By Giuseppe Muro

Sead Hajrovic is the latest versatile defender to emerge from Arsenal's production line and show signs of a promising future.

Equally adept at right back or centre half, Hajrovic impressed in his debut season for Steve Bould’s Academy side and, as testament to his development, has this season become a regular fixture in Neil Banfield’s Reserves.

The 17-year-old Swiss has made six starts for the second string and featured in both of Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup fixtures this term. Hajrovic admits he has surprised even himself by his swift development.
“It’s a big step, I couldn’t imagine being in the Reserves this quickly,” he told “The pace of the game is much quicker, you have to be ready and more aggressive.

“I started at centre back when I first came to Arsenal but it is good for my development to learn to play in both positions.

“I don’t really mind playing right back or centre back. I am actually a central defender but I don’t mind, I will play wherever the coach wants me to.
“I used to be a very commanding centre half but, because of the language, I still have to learn a few words.”

Hajrovic is growing game-by-game and, following an injury to regular skipper Ignasi Miquel, was handed the captain’s armband for the second half of Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

The experience was not new to the Brugg-born defender who is current skipper of the Switzerland Under-18s and was part of the side that won the Under-17s World Cup in 2009.

“It’s a great honour to captain my country,” he added. “It did make me grow up a bit quicker because I have to take care of my team-mates and I have to tell everyone what to do.

“Even with things like meetings, it means I have to command them all the time.”

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8 Feb 2011