Oleksandr Zinchenko has stated that Reuell Walters is one of the most promising youngsters on the books at Arsenal.
Speaking on Rio Ferdinand’s FIVE, the £32 million former Manchester City defender was asked which Arsenal youth player has impressed him most since his arrival at the Emirates Stadium. Zinchenko replied, “I like so much centre-back Reuell. I think the qualities he has, he is aggressive.”
The 53-cap Ukraine international went on to share an anecdote from the Gunners’ London Colney training facility. He said, “I swear to God, one time he pushed Gabriel Jesus in a shoulder-to-shoulder. It is not easy to push Gabriel because he is very strong, and he was confident on the ball afterwards, he kept the ball well and passed…Wow. He impresses me the most.”
Walters in contention at Arsenal
Mikel Arteta and his coaching staff will have been watching on as Walters outmuscled the Brazilian striker. Winning that duel will have been no easy feat either, as Jesus is an expert in using his physicality to get the better of defenders, and has overpowered centre-backs far bigger than him in the Premier League on many occasions.
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Given Jurrien Timber’s long term injury, there could be an opportunity for Walters to make his senior debut for the north London club this season, and perhaps even push for more regular involvement beyond that. The 18-year-old is clearly well developed physically, and his versatility makes him a particularly useful option, as he is comfortable operating at right-back or in the heart of the rearguard.
As things stand, Arsenal have not opted to send Walters out on loan this season, so he is clearly someone that Arteta is keen on keeping around.
It would be a big ask for Walters to step into the back line in the Premier League as part of an Arsenal side with title aspirations. However, squad rotation will be key for the Gunners this season, and the talented teenager may well have been earmarked to be afforded some opportunities to shine in the domestic cup competitions.