The 17 year old is highly-rated in North London and is tipped for a bright future at the club after his performances for the Gunners academy. The midfielder made his first-team debut in a 4-0 victory over Coventry City in the FA Cup during January and is in the squad for tonight’s friendly against the New York Red Bulls, Henry’s team.
The former striker believes the youngster has the ability to shine for the club in the future and believes Wenger is the right coach to oversee his development.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, he said:
Everybody knows him. [He is] quality. Good on the ball, great vision. Everyone is talking about him.
It is not easy to break into the first team at Arsenal but certainly he has the quality and the right boss to make sure that he can do it. Hopefully for us as Arsenal fans he can perform and become a great player.
Arsenal have a lot of good players, young players in the squad coming through. You will see them on Saturday. Everyone expects the big names but there are a lot of young and good players that you don’t see during the year because sometimes they go out on loan to get some minutes.
But I can tell you they have a lot of quality in that squad. Hopefully we won’t see too much of that on Saturday, but it is good for the club.
Zelalem first caught the eye of most during Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia last summer, when he was just 16 years old. His composure on the ball, his eye for a pass and the fluidity of his play has seen people liken him to a young Cesc Fabregas and it’s plain to see that he fits the Arsenal style.
He is now training with the first team, which can only enhance his development and he may prove that it is time to start getting more first team appearances. He made his first team debut in January and became the first player to play for Arsenal who was born after Wenger took charge of the club.
The youngster has a wealth of talent and being around the first team more this season will help him to grow. He is still very young, so playing him in the Capital One Cup will give him a chance to develop his game and showcase his talent for the manager to see.
Will Zelalem get more first team opportunities this season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.