From Brazil to Japan with Arsenal reserves

A week before the Premier League campaign kicks off we rattle in six goals in a friendly against Legia Warsaw in Poland. Less palatable, though, is the fact we conceded five!
You’ll find a detailed match report elsewhere on this site. One salient point amongst many from the game. Fittingly, just hours before Kieran Gibbs – along with the boy Wilshere – got the nod for the England squad for the meaningless game against Hungary on Wednesday at Wembley, he hit home a stunning effort breaking on the left. It’s all happening, as Danny Boon (Leslie Randall) says with such a flourish in the 1963 film Billy Liar.
For reasons too numerous to go into, I swerved the sortie to Polska and took myself off to see the reserves at AFC Wimbledon. the chance to take in a new ground – the Cherry Red Records Fans Stadium, Kingsmeadow – was too alluring a prospect to miss and I was also intrigued by the possibility that Brazilian starlet Wellington Silva would play. The winger, 17, has been purchased from Fluminense but can’t register as a club player until he is 18 in January so for the time being he is ‘training’ with us.
Silva, who was shorter than I would have imagined, was certainly lively, showed quick feet, pace and a positive attitude and you can see that he possesses the skills set that, with coaching and a filing down of the rough edges, could lead to him being a shrewd acquisition. He switched wings though looked more comfortable on the right from what I witnessed.
Japanese youngster Ryo Miyaichi also played the first half and he is definitely a player worth a watch. Again, fleet of foot and eager as a beaver.The 17-year-old represented his country at the Under-17 World Cup last year and has been training with us to try to secure a contract offer. The word is that Ajax are waiting in the wings (fittingly) to run the rule over the player if he doesn’t make the grade with us.
Others to shine in an overall disappointing display which ended 2-1 to the Wombles, were the first-half central defenders Kyle Bartley and Ignasi Miquel. The home team didn’t get much of a look in the opening 45 minutes and this was largely due to these two being so solid, aided by Gavin Hoyte at right back and, to a lesser degree, Tom Cruise at left-back.
Bartley was out on loan at Sheffield United last season and it seems to have done him a power of good. OK, it’s hard to tell how well he would do faced with Premier League strikers but, potentially, I think he may have a chance of regular first team football at the Arsenal at some stage in the future. Same goes for Miquel. Time will tell.
Credit to AFC Wimbledon for being such friendly hosts though one word of advice would be to employ more bar staff at the club house when the Arsenal are next in town – and £2 for a few chips is too much though, admittedly, cheaper than the grub at the Arse.

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