Arsenal could hand debut to ‘lively’ Hale End talent tonight

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been dealt a rough hand ahead of the club’s trip to Lisbon this week.

The Gunners are back in European action for the first time in several months as they go in search of continental glory.

However, as they take on a Sporting side in Portugal, they will do so without several key men.

Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard have both been ruled out through injury while Kieran Tierney will be absent through illness.

That is a cruel blow, particularly for the Scot, who would likely have been handed a start in such a competition after patiently waiting on the sidelines for a chance to impress.

Those injuries could well ensure a number of Hale End’s finest talents make the trip to southern Europe, one of which is teenager Charles Sagoe Jr.

Who is Charles Sagoe Jr?

Sagoe Jr is one of a number of highly talented young players learning their trade in the academy right now with the 18-year-old impressing those behind the scenes.

Confident in front of the camera, the exciting winger recently demonstrated how proud he was to play for the club in a casual interview alongside the hero of Bournemouth last weekend, Reiss Nelson.

During that sit-down chat, the latter was in awe of the teenager, saying: “I’ve been watching you, I watch a lot of the U21 games and literally, I’m not just saying this because you’re here, you have everything to be an Arsenal winger.

“You’re unpredictable, you can move on your left, on your right, you can score, you can assist, you’ve got everything. It’s just about keeping your head down and not getting distracted or disheartened by anything that happens.”

Sagoe Jr has clearly already caught the eye of Arteta too, having trained with the first team on multiple occasions, including in the build-up to their Europa League tie today.

The “lively” prodigy – as dubbed by Gunners academy expert Jeorge Bird – was added to the club’s Europa League squad list at the beginning of the campaign and there is every chance he could be unleashed on Thursday in the Portuguese capital.

It would take quite something for Arteta to give him minutes but there are several holes to fill. Consider fellow academy product Amario Cozier-Duberry is also injured and the hopes of Sagoe Jr earning first-team minutes increase.

Should he be given an opportunity then Arsenal could well be rewarded with the discovery of their next academy hotshot.

Capable of playing all across the front three, he evokes memories of the aforementioned Nelson.

Similarly adept in multiple attacking roles as well as possessing that magical ability to create things out of nothing, there is every chance the Englishman’s tantalising talents could be replicated at London Colney.

In boasting 14 goals and registering five assists in the upper age groups at Hale End, Sagoe Jr is evidently a young player with an end product to match the dazzling tricks.

Although Nelson is yet to truly demonstrate his full potential at senior level, his numbers in the academy were also hugely impressive, scoring 25 goals and supplying 11 assists in 67 outings across U21, U19 and U18 level.

An outing against West Ham last season shows just how alike the pair are. Sagoe Jr hugs the touchline, is incredibly direct and like Nelson, cuts inside whenever he can to fashion an opening.

Similarly tricky, the young winger loves to draw in his defender before skinning him and picking out a teammate.

Those qualities are likely to entice Arteta into unleashing him in the first team very soon.

A start at this moment in time is likely too far-fetched but should Arsenal swat away Sporting in the Europa League this week, a late substitute appearance or even a role in the second leg could await the talented teenager.