Arsenal youth coach Andries Jonker has heaped praise on young Gunner Ismael Bennacer, highlighting his quality following the U19s’ draw with Bayern Munich (via Arsenal.com).
Bennacer scored Arsenal’s only goal in the youth side’s 1-1 draw with the German giants, a game which Jonker was in charge of. He took his goal superbly, slamming the ball into the top corner, earning the side a valuable point.
Jonker highlighted just how far Bennacer has come, and praised the speed at which he’s been improving.
“He has two things in him,” Jonker said, via 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.
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“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.”
Bennacer was less than impressive during his senior debut against Sheffield Wednesday last week, but he can’t really be held responsible. He was thrown in at the deep end when the entire team was playing poorly, and the teenager can’t possibly have been expected to change the game on his own.
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He’s highly rated at Arsenal, so hopefully we see him pushing on towards the first team at some point soon. Having made his senior debut in the Capital One Cup, it would seem as though Arsene Wenger sees something special in him. He certainly looks to have the quality, but whether he has the mentality and the physical presence to thrive in the Premier League is another question entirely.