Pre-Match Report

U21s: Arsenal v Derby County - Preview

Gedion Zelalem

By Lloyd Webb

Gedion Zelalem hopes to prove that he is ready for regular first-team football this season.

The midfielder has had a busy summer, having firstly been part of the Arsenal touring party that won the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore.

Zelalem then starred in the Durban Under-19 International Tournament, dispatching the deciding penalty in a dramatic semi-final penalty shoot-out victory, before playing in the final as the Gunners beat PSV Eindhoven.

"I’ve been in the gym a lot over the last season and I’m going to continue to do that this year as well"

Gedion Zelalem

Back on home soil, the 18-year-old scored the only goal of the game as the under-21s beat Fulham on the opening day of the domestic season last week. The Gunners continue their campaign against Derby County on Friday, and Zelalem believes he has benefitted from his summer showings.

“I’m used to the first-team players now,” Zelalem told “They know how I play and I know how they play so hopefully it will only be a matter of time before I break through.

“Maybe I’ll have to go on loan first but hopefully it will happen one day.”

Zelalem is determined to make big strides this season and has been working on all aspects of his game as he seeks to make the step up.

“I’d say tackling has been one of my weaknesses but I’ve been in the gym a lot over the last season and I’m going to continue to do that this year as well,” he said.

“It’s definitely helped. I know that I might get kicked around a bit in men’s football so the extra time in the gym will only help.”

Follow @Arsenal on Twitter for live updates from the under-21s’ match against Derby County from 6.55pm (UK time).


Gedion Zelalem


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