Darren Ambrose would not start Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko ahead of Destiny Udogie, who he ‘forgot’ was at Tottenham Hotspur before this Premier League term.
The 20-year-old has emerged as Spurs’ first-choice left-back after arriving in north London this summer. Tottenham had signed Udogie from Udinese in August 2022 for an initial £15m, plus £5m in add-ons. But he returned to Serie A on loan with the Bianconeri for one season.
Udogie found a new manager at the helm upon his arrival at Tottenham in Ange Postecoglou after signing for Antonio Conte. Yet the Australian replacing his compatriot in charge has not hindered the Italy U21 star’s chances. He has started their four Premier League games so far.
Udogie has shone for Tottenham as Arsenal awaited Zinchenko’s return
Postecoglou has further seen Udogie record two assists after finding Dejan Kulusevski away at Bournemouth and James Maddison at Burnley. He has also played the full-back for a total of 332 minutes this term. Zinchenko has only enjoyed 111 minutes with Arsenal in 2023/24.
Mikel Arteta afforded the 26-year-old his first start of the Premier League season as Arsenal beat Manchester United. The Gunners boss had limited Zinchenko’s minutes in their fixtures with Crystal Palace and Fulham. He returned from a calf injury in their win at Selhurst Park.
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Zinchenko sat out Arsenal’s entire pre-season schedule, the Community Shield and their win over Nottingham Forest with the calf injury. The Ukraine hero then only enjoyed one regular minute at Crystal Palace and 34 against Fulham. He would play for 76 against the Red Devils.
Ambrose would start Udogie over Zinchenko on their current form
Arteta had Zinchenko popping up all over the pitch at Emirates Stadium in Arsenal’s win over Manchester United. Despite being a left-back, the Gunners’ £32m transfer from Manchester City in July 2022 often featured on the right. He also often silenced Antony while on the left.
Yet Crystal Palace icon Ambrose would now struggle to justify starting Zinchenko ahead of Udogie given the Tottenham player’s form and the Arsenal star’s lack of minutes this season.
“Udogie gets in, I think, on current form,” Ambrose told talkSPORT. “[Zinchenko’s] not really been playing much, has he? He’s been injured.
“It’s been a good start [for Udogie]. I forgot he was at Spurs when he went on loan.”