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Brayden Clarke signs professional contract

We are delighted to announce that Brayden Clarke has signed his first professional contract at the club.

Centre-back Brayden played for three different teams in the U18 Premier League last season. Starting the campaign at Wolverhampton Wanderers, he went on to feature once for Newcastle United before signing for our under-18s team and getting his first appearance in March.

He made a great first impression on Jack Wilshere and subsequently played 90 minutes of eight of the final nine games of the season.

He has frequently represented Wales at international youth level.

Speaking to Arsenal.com, Brayden said: “Since a young age, this is what I’ve dreamed of, from playing football at school and in Sunday league. It’s hopefully just the start, but a good step.

“The staff members and players have all been really welcoming. I think I’ve settled in quite quickly and have loads of games under my belt in a short amount of time. It was important to stay match fit last season and keep pushing through because I knew it was going to be tough, but I needed those games under my belt and it was good to perform well with the team.

“The support has been really good. Coming into a new club halfway through the season, everyone is quite set, but they’ve been really supportive and helping me. All the instructions the staff and players have given me has made me confident going out on the pitch in training and games.

“The amount of hours my whole family have spent taking me up and down the country to play, without them I don’t think I’d be where I am. It takes up a lot of their lives as well, not just my own, and the sacrifices they make have helped a lot.

“My goals are to perform consistently and hopefully push towards the under-21s after having a good start to the season. I want to enjoy my football and see where it takes me because it’s a big season for me.

“Seeing players like Bukayo and Emile, it’s really good because they’re at the highest level of the game now. It makes all of us hungry to push there because we know it’s possible.”

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Watch our U21s in action against Boreham Wood

Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Ismeal Kabia and Zane Monlouis in training

Get the first chance this season to watch our U21s in a friendly against Boreham Wood on Saturday, July 13.

Tickets are still available for the tie, which kicks off at the Mangata Pay UK Stadium at 3pm. 

This will be the first of six pre-season matches for Mehmet Ali's side as we gear up for the 2024/25 Premier League 2 season.

With several of our Gunners committing their futures to the club this summer, the fixture against the National League South outfit marks the perfect opportunity to catch our young pros in action. 

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