Academy

Interview

Rekik on joining Arsenal, playing style and more

Omar Rekik

Omar Rekik can’t wait to step out in Arsenal colours for the first time. 

The 19-year-old became our first academy signing of the January transfer window on Thursday as he joined us from Hertha Berlin, but now he’s desperate to get out on the pitch and prove his worth. 

We spoke to Rekik after completing his move to north London - and here’s what he had to say: 

on how it feels to join Arsenal… 
It feels great to be here after a long time of hard work. It feels great. I moved in three weeks ago and I’ve been in quarantine, so I can’t wait to get started. 

on why he chose Arsenal…
The warmth of the people and the interest that they showed in me, and of course, when a club like Arsenal is interested, I don’t think anyone needs to think twice. 

on what the fans can expect from him…
I’m a winner. I always want to win, and that’s with everything, not only football, ever since I was a kid. My style of play? I’m a central defender and I like to play with the ball, I like to play out from the back, and I think this is also the structure of the club. It fits perfectly. 

on whether Arsenal’s style of play was important in his decision…
Of course! With Mikel Arteta, if you watch the games, he’s not a coach who thinks quickly to play a long ball. Of course, when needed, you have to do it, but I think the style of play fits. 

on whether our history of giving young players opportunities appealed to him…
Of course. As a young player, you need to play somewhere where they’re not afraid to give you a chance and you can see a lot of youth players have broken through here, and I want to be the next one. 

on his Bundesliga experience with Hertha Berlin…
At Hertha I had a lot of experiences, good and bad, but I’m happy for even the bad ones because it makes you into the person and character that you are. I’ve experienced a lot there. I had three good seasons there and I’m very happy. 

on what he hopes to achieve between now and the end of the season…
I just take things day by day. I’m here now and I have to work harder and show them what I can do and what I’m capable of. When I do this, my qualities will show on the pitch and then hopefully I can get a chance.

Post-Match Report

Match report: Arsenal U-18s 4-1 Tottenham

Omari Hutchinson

WHAT HAPPENED

Our under-18s claimed bragging rights in the north London derby on Saturday as they secured a 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

Ken Gillard’s side were without Marcelo Flores and Khayon Edwards in attack, but that didn’t stop them from delivering an impressive performance from start to finish at London Colney.

With just 17 minutes on the clock, Mauro Bandeira sent  an inviting delivery into the penalty area and Zane Monlouis was on hand to finish after his initial header saved.

The visitors then went on to equalise against the run of play, with Roshaun Mathurin finding the bottom corner from 20 yards, but that didn’t kill our spirit and with just seconds remaining of the first half, Omari Hutchinson produced a moment of magic.

Once again, it was Bandeira who kickstarted the move, setting Hutchinson free down the right wing, but the youngster had it all to do, and after chopping past his marker and skipping past another, curled a stunning effort in off the post to restore our lead.

Following the restart, we continued to assert our dominance on the game and with a sweeping counter-attack, Kido Taylor-Hart received the ball out on the left, cut inside on to his right foot and fizzed the ball into the far corner at pace.

Tottenham’s Jamie Donley then went on to force a good save from Hubert Graczyk, who replaced the injured Ovie Ejeheri at the break, before Mazeed Ogungo capped off our first victory of 2021 with a sublime strike into the top corner.

WHAT IT MEANS

U-18 table

WHAT’S NEXT

Up next, we will face Crystal Palace on Saturday, January 30.

The game will take place at Crystal Palace Academy with kick-off at 11am.

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