Arsenal fans have a lot to look forward to in the future.
Arsenal Reserves are the reserve team of Arsenal Football Club.
They have been members of the FA Premier Reserve League Southern Division since its foundation in 1999. They play their home games at Underhill Stadium, which is also the home of Barnet FC. The team mainly consists of Under-21 players at the club, with players under 18 playing for the Arsenal Academy side.
Senior players occasionally play in the reserve side, for instance when they are recovering from injury.
The Reserves' head coach is Neil Banfield, who picks and manages the side, with Mike Salmon as his assistant. Arsenal's head of youth development Liam Brady and his assistant David Court oversee the development of the squad in general.
Hope you like this.
Young goalkeeper James signed scholarship forms last season after coming through the ranks at Hale End.
A reliable, dependable goalkeeper, James made five appearances for the Under-18s last season, and many more for the Under-16s.
A superb shot stopper with great reflexes, James will hope to continue his rapid development this season as a second year scholar.
Thomas is one of a few players whose excellence for the Under-18s earned him an occasional place in Neil Banfield’s Reserves last term.
Comfortable in either defense or midfield he featured on three occasions for the second-string, adding to his 21 appearances under Steve Bould.
Thomas has been with the Club from a young age and is already recognized at international level for England. Able to play in the center of defense or at left-back, Thomas’ exciting approach to full-back play has led to three goals and a clutch of assists for the Academy.
Last term Liam Brady referred to the youngster as a "real asset." It is expected he will continue to prove that for the Club in years to come.
Gavin is a fine example of the strength of Arsenal’s Academy. Having been at the Club since the age of nine, the younger brother of Justin now finds himself on the cusp of the first-team.
Gavin was named in the bench in four of the Gunners’ five Carling Cup fixtures and also played in the 2-1 win over Barnet in pre-season. His steady performance at Underhill earned him a spot at the first-team’s training camp in Austria, where he featured in two friendlies.
The youngster is fast and athletic, like his sibling, and is comfortable across the back four, although he excels at center-half. From there Gavin led the Under-18s in 2006/07, and retained the armband at times during the most recent Reserve campaign.
He made 11 appearances for Neil Banfield but missed the start of the campaign because of international commitments with England Under-19s.
A talented sprinter, Gavin regularly topped the charts in the squad’s speed tests last year.
Arsenal beat off competition from a host of top European clubs to secure Havard’s signature in summer 2007 from Norwegian First Division side FK Haugesund.
He made nine league appearances for them in 2007, and upon arriving at Arsenal he was handed the captain’s armband by Neil Banfield in the Reserve League South’s opening rubber against Fulham—a sign of the regard in which he is held.
The all-action center-half led by example with a series of commanding and dependable performances at the back and notched his first goal for the Club in a 3-2 defeat at home to Birmingham Reserves.
Injury laid the Norwegian low for a chunk of the season but he was an unused substitute in the final Premier League match.
The long-time youth international started this pre-season with a place in the starting line-up for the friendly against Barnet in July 2008.
The defender will spend 2008/09 season on loan at Norwegian side Lilestrom
An attacking left-back who can also play in midfield, Brazilian Pedro joined Arsenal during the January transfer window in 2008.
He was immediately loaned to Salamanca in the Spanish Second Division, where he will also spend the whole of this season.
Pedro, full name Pedro Roberto Silva Botelho, impressed at left-back for the Spanish side, but also often played on the left wing, using his devastating pace to great affect.
Formerly with Figueirense in Brazil, the youngster is yet to represent his country at youth level, but possesses a great work ethic and will to win, which combined with his undoubted talent, marks him out as one for the future.
An intelligent footballer with a great left foot, Pedro had been on the radar of the Club's scouts long before he eventually signed for the Gunners.
Defender Kerrea Gilbert has joined League One side Leicester City on loan for the 2008/09 season.
21 year-old Gilbert, who has been on Arsenal’s books since the age of 13, became a familiar name to Arsenal supporters during the 2005/06 season, when he made nine first team appearances, spread across all four major competitions.
During his time with the Gunners, Kerrea
(pronounced Kerry) has also gained valuable experience with loan spells at Cardiff City, where he spent the entire 2006/07 campaign, and also spent some of last season on loan at League One side Southend United.
Kerrea's strong tackling and athleticism won him plenty of admirers and the Club offered him professional terms in the summer of 2005. He has also represented England at youth level.
Dutchman Nacer was one of several success stories from last season’s Reserve and Academy campaign, scoring 19 times and having a hand in several more.
The forward, equally adept in a range of attacking positions, built on his solid debut season in north London and established himself as both a lethal marksman and creative outlet in Neil Banfield’s second-string.
Nacer made his competitive first-team bow in the Carling Cup victory over Sheffield United and got more game time against Blackburn in the next round. However a dislocated shoulder at Ewood Park curtailed his season and he spent much of the winter on the sidelines.
Nacer ended the campaign as a substitute in the final Premier League fixture, before notching winning goals in the pre-season friendlies at Barnet and Huddersfield.
Nacer is a current Dutch youth International, starting the season with the Under-19s.
He is currently on loan at Championship side Derby County until December 31, 2008.
A creative, highly technical central or left-sided midfielder, Fran has made a huge impact following his arrival at Arsenal from Barcelona in the summer of 2006. In his first season the young Spaniard made 33 appearances, scoring nine times in the Academy and Reserves.
He was called upon by Spain for the Uefa Under-17 Championship in May 2007, where he played a key role in the Iberians’ triumph, creating the only goal in the Final against the Three Lions.
He returned to England to make his first team debut in the home Carling Cup win over Newcastle, and in January he was sent on loan to Real Sociedad in Spain. He helped Sociedad maintain a promotion push until the end of the campaign.
In April 2008 Fran signed a contract extension at Arsenal, and at the end of the Uefa Under-19 Championships in July 2008 Fran was named in the tournament’s Top Ten stars for the future.
Henri is one of the longest serving members of the Arsenal Academy, having been at the Club since he was nine.
The tenacious midfielder is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects in his age group, and signed professional terms last summer. Henri missed the early part of the Reserve campaign because of international commitments with England Under-17s, but returned to make five appearances before January.
Then disaster struck and Henri was laid low by illness for the remainder of the campaign. In his final appearance, the FA Youth Cup win over Burnley, Henri plundered a superb hat-trick in a 5-1 win. But the highlight was making his first team debut, in the 3-0 Carling Cup win over Sheffield United.
The current campaign began with a start against Barnet and a place in the squad that traveled to Austria.
Francis arrived at Arsenal from French second division side Laval during the summer and made an instant, and impressive, impact as a second-half substitute in the pre-season curtain-raiser at Barnet.
His imposing performance in that match earned him a place in the squad for the pre-season training camp in Austria, where he again excelled in the opening game against Szombathelyi.
The Frenchman is very much in the Makelele mold with a low center of gravity and superb reading of the game. With his rugged and aggressive manner, coupled with a fine passing range, Francis is sure to have his eye on a holding midfield berth in the future.
Mark gained further first team experience last season, both with Arsenal and also on loan at Championship side Burnley.
Playing in the Carling Cup quarter and semi-finals for the Gunners, the central midfielder then joined Burnley temporarily, playing ten league matches before returning to make his Premier League debut for Arsène Wenger’s side in the final game of the season against Sunderland.
Coming on as a substitute in the second-half, Mark harshly had a goal ruled out for offside late on in the 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.
Another of Arsenal’s long-serving Academy members, Mark is creative, composed and with excellent vision. Highly-rated at the Club, he featured in the first four pre-season friendlies in the summer.
Powerful central midfielder Emmanuel was a key player for the Under-18s last season, making 23 appearances and scoring five goals in the academy league.
He also played six games at that level the previous season, and is clearly comfortable playing above his age level.
A dominant figure in the center of the pitch, who has been at Arsenal since he was 11, Emmanuel was born in Ghana but is now a regular for England youth.
An outstanding tackler, with an eye for goal and a fine passer, he is an all-round midfielder who can also play on the right.
French striker Gilles was snapped up by Arsenal after a fine showing in a pre-season tournament in 2007, but he was frustrated by injury as he attempted to settle into life in England. When he did play though, he impressed.
Fast, skillful and an intelligent user of the ball, Gilles was offered his first professional contract in April and celebrated with a superb strike in a Reserve team rout of Derby County at Underhill.
The all-action center-forward will be hoping to develop further this term.
Academy coach Steve Bould said, "Gilles is a really hard working lad. He runs the line all day long and we’ve been delighted with his attitude. Everyone’s taken to him and through shear endeavor he’s enamored himself with everyone at the Club."
Jay is a fine example of the value of a loan spell. The forward spent the vast majority of last season at League One outfit Millwall, where he the earned the accolade of the division’s Player of the Year.
He made 41 league appearances, scoring six goals, for the Lions. He returned to the Gunners at the end of last season, and began this campaign by grabbing the equalizing goal in the pre-season fixture at Barnet.
Jay further substantiated his claim for a place in the first-team with a series of impressive appearances in Austria. The forward’s lightning pace and burgeoning power make him a handful for defenders at any level and his experience as a wide man at Millwall has bought an added dimension to his forward play.
Jay has been at the Club since he was nine and already has a place in Arsenal’s history as the first player to score a competitive hat-trick at Emirates Stadium, in a FA Youth Cup tie against Cardiff City in February 2007.
Rhys endured a frustrating season last year, hampered by injury, but the exciting front-man returned at the end of the campaign to bag two goals in the Reserve League win over Derby County. That, along with the professional terms he signed in July, should be the platform to an important season for Rhys.
With bags of pace and energy, plus an instinctive eye for goal – in 2006/07 he hit braces in five consecutive games – the Shoreham-born youngster is tipped for the top.
England recognition has already been achieved after he missed the start of the last campaign because of the Fifa Under-17 World Cup
Center-forward Luke joined Arsenal in the January transfer window in 2008, while still a schoolboy.
The England youth international signed from Gillingham, then of League One, where he made his first-team debut aged 15 years ans 233 days. That made him Gillingham's youngest ever player, as well as the youngest player ever to appear in the FA Cup.
He also made one league appearance for the Gills, and after joining Arsenal became an England schoolboy international.
He scored three times for Arsenal Under-18s last season, and signed professional forms with the Club on April 8, 2009.