By Rob Kelly
Neil Banfield believes playing alongside “model professional” Andre Santos will help Arsenal’s youngsters continue their development.
The second string have notched up four wins on the bounce, scoring 12 goals without concession, and will go into Wednesday evening’s clash against West Brom in high spirits.
The team will be boosted by the inclusion of Santos, who is making his way back from an ankle injury that has kept him out of action since December.
“Andre is a really good lad, and a top professional. He is very good with the young players and he will feature,” Banfield told Arsenal.com.
“When the younger players get the chance to be on the pitch with a Brazilian international, they can learn from him and that is obviously really good for them.
“It is always a tough game against West Brom. When you look at how well they are doing in the Premier League, and also in the Reserve league, you can see they are a very organised outfit. It will be a big test.”
Banfield is delighted with the clear signs of progress many of his squad are showing, which culminated in an impressive 2-0 victory at Chelsea last week.
“I was really pleased with that performance,” he said. “There was a good work ethic, they performed as a team and they attacked well.
“Chelsea offer a different kind of problem tactically and our lads took on the information we gave them at the training ground, which is a good sign for their development. To take that into the game and produce on the pitch is very pleasing.
“Although the team has been doing very well, it is about the individuals within the group who are performing that can push on into the first team. The manager and the staff can then run their eye over them and integrate them into the first team. That is what we are trying to produce at this level.
“With our current group, we’re hoping that players will be starting to knock on the door when they get to 19 or 20. There are a number who are really showing good signs and if they continue their work and their progress then who knows? There are also some that come along a bit later, but all of them are doing really well at the moment.”
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