Andries Jonker has hailed Ismael Bennacer’s “special qualities” after his man-of-the-match performance against Bayern Munich.
The France Under-19 midfielder scored his first goal for the club on Wednesday, smashing an unstoppable strike into the top corner to help the Gunners secure a valuable Youth League point in Munich.
"He’s starting to play in a different way of speed, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes thinking and sometimes aggressively"
It was Bennacer’s first appearance following his first-team debut at Sheffield Wednesday, and Jonker was impressed with the 17-year-old’s contributions at both ends of the pitch.
“He has two things in him,” Jonker told Arsenal Player. “Firstly he has the defensive quality in winning balls, but he also has the offensive quality in being able to play football well. He has a special quality of having a good passing range and a very good shot, like he showed against Bayern.
“What we try to do with him is to make sure that he doesn’t just play in one tempo. He’s starting to play in a different way of speed, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes thinking and sometimes aggressively.
“He showed he has understood the attention we gave him. There are steps that he does need to make in terms of making progress but this was the first big step and he rewarded himself with a very, very nice goal.”
Hugo Keto also impressed with a string of vital saves to ensure the under-19s didn’t leave Munich empty-handed, and Jonker had plenty of praise for his young goalkeeper’s development.
“Defensively it’s really, really good for him,” the manager said. “Hugo is very, very young and to perform this way is very impressive. We also want him to have a good role when we have the ball too. He has to make some steps there as well.”
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