Arsenal 20yo reaches AFCON quarter-finals after another appearance | OneFootball

Arsenal 20yo reaches AFCON quarter-finals after another appearance

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Daily Cannon

Omar Rekik made his second competitive appearance for Tunisia on Sunday, as he became the first Arsenal player to reach the quarter-finals this AFCON.

LONDON, ENGLAND: Omar Rekik of Arsenal passes the ball during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal U23 and Brighton & Hove Albion U23 at Emirates Stadium on October 01, 2021. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Some Arsenal fans may not even have initially been aware that the club had actually sent five players away to AFCON with their countries.

Mohamed Elneny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, and Thomas Partey are all well known among the fanbase, but Omar Rekik of Tunisia is less of a household name.

Rekik is yet to make his Arsenal debut, or even to appear in a squad. But like Karl Hein (Estonia) and Daniel Ballard (Northern Ireland), he’s managed to break into his senior national side before his club side.

So far, things have been going well for the 20-year-old. He made his debut in a 1-0 win over Mali in June, playing 45 minutes, before receiving a call-up for AFCON this month.

Though he hasn’t featured at all regularly in Tunisia’s first four games, he has made a couple of late substitute appearances. He came on for nine minutes of the 4-0 win over Mauritania, before playing injury time against Nigeria on Sunday.

Tunisia battled to a 1-0 win in the weekend’s Round-of-16 match, meaning Rekik is currently the Arsenal player to progress furthest at AFCON.

Partey’s Ghana exited at the group stage, whilst Aubameyang’s Gabon were eliminated in the Round-of-16. Aubameyang hadn’t been playing anyway, following his health scare.

Pepe and Elneny remain in the competition, but since Ivory Coast and Egypt are facing off against each other, only one of them will make the quarter-finals.

With Tunisia next up against Burkina Faso, we could be set for a deep run in the competition for Arsenal’s youngest AFCON competitor.

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