UEL: Teenage Nigerian Midfielder Makes Arsenal Matchday 18 For The First Time In CareerPublished: December 12, 2019
Arsenal's interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg has named his matchday squad for Thursday evening's Europa League match against Standard Liege at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne - Liege, allnigeriasoccer.com reports.
The big news if you are a Nigerian fan of Arsenal is that Hale End Academy product James Olayinka has been selected in the Gunners matchday 18 by the Swedish football tactician.
While Olayinka is among the seven substitutes named on the bench, the second Nigerian-eligible player that traveled to Belgium with the first team, Bukayo Saka will start his fourth game in this season's Europa League, barring an injury in the warm-up.
Aged 19 years and 68 days today, Olayinka won't be the first Nigeria-eligible 19-year-old to feature in the Europa League if he comes off the bench, with the likes of Jordon Ibe (for Liverpool), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal), Samuel Kalu (Gent) and Wilfred Ndidi (Genk) making their debuts in the competition at the age of 19.
Given that he is the only midfielder named on the Arsenal bench, he stands a good chance of making his senior debut against the Belgian opponents.
Olayinka played three matches for the first team during pre-season - against Colorado Rapids, Fiorentina and SCO Angers - and has trained with the squad several times this season.
He has been handed the number 52 jersey for the Europa League.
Photo Credit : arsenal.com
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