Arsenal starlet Gedion Zelalem finally made his first international appearance after featuring for the USA U-20 side in their 2-0 win against Australia as they prepare to take part in the U-20 World Cup this summer, Grant Wahl from Sports Illustrated reports.
Gedion Zelalem played in 1st U20 game for USA today vs AUS. Still not cap-tied to US (didn’t file 1-time switch). Earliest would be Gold Cup
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) May 19, 2015
Zelalem’s international future remained obscure for a number of years due to the various national teams he was eligible to represent.
The 18-year-old is born to Ethiopian parents but was born in Germany; however he spent most of his teenage years in America and was granted US citizenship in December (via ESPN FC).
It could be a huge summer for Zelalem with the senior team competing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and Jurgen Klinsmann has made no secret of his desire to call the midfielder up as soon as he’s legally able to.
“I think he’s already at a level that he can definitely play on the senior team,” the legendary striker said in March (via ESPN FC).
Zelalem has been training with the first team ever since he arrived at the tender age of 15 and Arsene Wenger recently hinted that the playmaker may go out on loan next season.
“I always test the players in preseason and after I make an assessment on how close they are to the first team,” Wenger stated (via ESPN FC).
“If he is not close, he needs to play something.”
Zelalem has the potential to become the latest player to emerge from the development squads following in the footsteps of Hector Bellerin.
As he approaches the age of 20, it may be time for the USA U-20 international to finally prove that he’s able to make the step-up competitively.