Ex-Arsenal Chief: Nwaneri and Lewis-Skelly Are “Different”

By The Editor
on 18th January 2024

Former academy chief Yousuf Sajjad waxes lyrical on Arsenal starlets…


Yousuf Sajjad, Arsenal’s former head of emerging talent, stated that it only takes a glance to realise highly-rated duo Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly are “different”, he told Football London

Sajjad spent three years at the club amid a revolution of our academy system from Per Mertesacker, which led to the likes of Lino Sousa, Reuell Walters and Mika Biereth joining the club.

Now the technical director at Dutch outfit Den Bosch, Sajjad stated that while he wasn’t directly responsible for Nwaneri and Lewis-Skelly joining the club, it doesn’t take a genius to see their talent.

Nwaneri has already made his Premier League debut, a brief cameo last season at Brentford during a comfortable 3-0 victory – he’s yet to make a first-team appearance since.

Lewis-Skelly has been involved in a few matchday squads but is yet to be called on by Mikel Arteta, though the Spaniard took the aforementioned duo the club’s warm-weather camp in Dubai.

“There’s a few players where you see them once and you think ‘wow, these guys are different’,” Sajjad was quoted as saying.

“Whether that’s at 14, 15, 16 I feel like you can see that. There’s very few times that you can just look and say these guys have the real ability to go all the way.

“But listen they’ve been well spoken about, and we know how highly rated they are. The next part is always the hardest, to try and fulfil that.”

Quiet as kept, Arteta is under pressure to bring through his crop of talent from the academy with our current Hale End stars given their chances by the two previous managers.

Having said that, we were a poor side in the past few years which allowed the scenario to turn to academy talents.

We’re now a top team challenging for the biggest honours – that will mean that only the special players in our production line will graduate.

It does seem as though Nwaneri and Lewis-Skelly are cut from that cloth.

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