Manchester City boss praises Arsenal 20yo

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Daily Cannon

Arthur Okonkwo has drawn praise for his performance for the Arsenal u23s at the weekend, as he competes with Karl Hein for a spot.

Villarreal CF v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League – Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo warming up before the UEFA Europa League match at Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal. Copyright: Focus Images

With Aaron Ramsdale seemingly taking the advantage in the battle with Bernd Leno for Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper position, there’s also a bit of a contest going on for the number three spot.

Whilst Arthur Okonkwo and Karl Hein will be well aware they’re not quite pushing to be the primary senior backup at Arsenal just yet, they’re both in with a good shot at joining the first-team on a weekly basis as the third-choice goalkeeper.

Hein appears to be the favoured option right now, having made the Premier League squad against Brentford, the League Cup squad against AFC Wimbledon, and joining Leno and Ramsdale in the warm-up before the North London derby.

But Okonkwo isn’t far behind, and he made the Premier League squad against Manchester City last month.

Given the lack of available first-team minutes, Okonkwo can only really win back the third-choice spot using training performances and u23 matches. So it was good to see him doing so well against PL2 Champions Manchester City on Saturday.

Arsenal came away with a draw that perhaps didn’t reflect the quality of the chances in the game, particularly in the first half, thanks largely to Okonkwo’s goalkeeping.

City’s u23 boss Brian Barry-Murphy said: “In the first half we created a lot of chances and their goalkeeper pulled off some really incredible saves.”

The City admin had particular praise for a “brilliant double save” Okonkwo made following a free-kick, and even City’s eventual opening goal only came via a save rebound.

With Okonkwo and Hein both committing their long-term futures, it would be great to see a rivalry sparking up between them, pushing them both to continue developing their games.

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