‘Arsenal young guns will not be daunted by Checkatrade Trophy tie at Portsmouth’

Manager Freddie Ljungberg
Manager Freddie Ljungberg
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Freelance journalist Jeorge Bird looks ahead to Arsenal under-21s making the trip to Pompey for a Checkatrade Trophy second-round clash.

Here's what he had to say ahead of the Gunners' emerging talents playing at Fratton Park...

The academy as a whole have be playing with a lot of confidence this season.

Former Arsenal and Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg took charge of the under-23s in pre-season.

They look to play exactly the same way as the first-team do under Unai Emery.

Ljungberg wants his side to play out from the back and close opposition sides down.

Each and every game these young players are developing but the results of late have not been that good.

But a lot of that has been down to the fact most of their best players have been unavailable.

Beyond the players that have made a breakthrough this season, there are a lot of really good players coming through.

This is the best shape the Arsenal academy has been in for the last 10 years or so.

The involvement in the Checkatrade Trophy has helped a lot of these young players.

Prior to playing in this competition, very few academy players had any experience of playing first-team football.

But now they’ve managed to get that and they haven’t had to go on loan in order to get it.

Portsmouth have done really well this season and it will be the biggest test these youngsters will have had so far.

Tyreece John-Jules, inset, is a striker who was on the bench for the first team in the Europa League last week.

Again he's done really well and is a player with good technical ability, good link-up play also.

Zech Medley is a centre-back who is really good on the ball and made his debut for the first team last week as well.

Even if it is a small crowd at Fratton Park, it will still be a lot more than these youngsters are used to playing in front of. But they won't be daunted by what will be another great opportunity for them.