Arsenal youngster Julio Pleguezuelo missed much of the last season with a troublesome injury, but the Spaniard has since recovered to feature for the U21s in the two months of the campaign, and he will hope to push on even further in 2015/16.
Pleguezuelo, who was signed from Barcelona’s La Masia academy two years ago, is capable of playing as a right-back or a centre-back, although he appears to be more at ease in the latter position. Rather diminutive in stature for a defender; he is extremely quick, and is comfortable, as you would expect given his upbringing, with the ball at his feet.
Having seen his compatriot Hector Bellerin enjoy an impressive breakthrough season in the first-team squad, Pleguezuelo will be eager to get his own time in the limelight. He will most probably have to wait a while before he is afforded regular opportunities to impress in the senior side though, as there are a number of quality players ahead of him in the pecking order.
Next season however, he could slowly be embedded into the set-up, possibly via the route of the Capital One Cup. Having already featured for the first-team in a pre-season friendly against Boreham Wood last summer, Pleguezuelo has some fleeting senior experience under his belt, and he will now look to edge closer to fulfilling his dream of making the first-team.
He faces much competition in that regard, with Stefan O’Connor having developed well of late, whilst Isaac Hayden and Krystian Bielik – despite primarily being defensive-midfielders – can also be used at centre-back.
Pleguezuelo will be determined to show that he is the best option at centre-back out of that young quartet. Quite how he will cope with the rigours of senior football remains to be seen, but he certainly possesses the technical qualities that are required to succeed at the highest level.
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The youngster ended the season on a high, as he scored his first competitive goal for the U21s in a comfortable victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers. He will surely hope that he will have more moments to celebrate next season as he looks to emulate Bellerin by making the considerably difficult transition from the youth team to the first-team.