Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley delivers pledge to Arsenal over talented Miguel Azeez

Danny Cowley has promised Arsenal that Miguel Azeez will be handled with care during his Pompey stay.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 4:55 am

The Premier League giants have entrusted the Blues with the highly-regarded 18-year-old for the season.

It represents the England under-20 international’s maiden loan spell – and the opportunity to make his Football League bow.

Cowley earned immense credit for Arsenal over how he managed Emile Smith Rowe during a loan spell at Huddersfield in 2019-20.

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And ahead of a potential debut at MK Dons on Saturday (3pm), the Blues boss has pledged to manage the prodigious talent of Azeez with similar ‘intelligence’.

He told The News: ‘Miguel has obviously moved away from his parents and family house, so has all of that transition to go through.

‘He left St George’s Park on Monday evening, was down to Portsmouth on Tuesday, and we have helped him to settle in, while making sure the senior players are looking after him.

‘We will try to integrate him into the team. We have already done quite a lot of work in terms of game idea and how we play.

Danny Cowley has been trusted by Arsenal to look after the talented Miguel Azeez. Picture: Martin Sidorjak/Getty Images

‘It’s step-by-step trying to work with him on the training ground, to keep developing that understanding and feeling how he can contribute to the team.

‘This is his first experience of going out on loan. He has been in and around Arsenal’s first-team, but it’s a different experience coming into a first-team environment, particularly in League One where games are coming thick and fast in a 46-game season.

‘Certainly we must manage that transition from Arsenal and their periodisation to our periodisation. That's why we have been a bit cautious with him on Tuesday and Wednesday.

‘Being with England as well, their periodisation is slightly different to ours and Arsenal’s.

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‘Ball players need body rhythm and, if things keep changing, that can lead to picking up some unwanted soft tissue injuries.

‘So we are trying to make that transition from Arsenal to us as seamless as possible.’

Azeez made his debut for Arsenal under-21s at Peterborough in the EFL Trophy in October 2019.

Since then he has featured three more times in the competition, while was given seven minutes off the bench against Dundalk in the Europa League.

Now he has the chance of regular first-team action at Fratton Park.

Cowley added: ‘We have really good data around us, really good information which we try to use to shape the decisions we make.

‘Every morning the boys come in, they fill in a well-being app which tells us everything from how they slept, the quality of their sleep, their moods, and muscle soreness.

‘We have all the live data and GPS to tell us where they are at. So we’re able to utilise all of that information to make some intelligent decisions.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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