Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley reveals reasons behind Arsenal's Miguel Azeez's lack of matches

Danny Cowley is prepared to continue applying the brakes to Miguel Azeez.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 5:30 pm
Miguel Azeez has made just one appearance for Pompey after arriving on a season-long loan from Arsenal in August. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages

And Pompey’s head coach insists the 19-year-old be unleashed once his team are in a ‘good moment’.

Azeez has made just one Blues appearance since arriving on a season-long loan at the end of August.

Even in successive heavy defeats to Rotherham and Ipswich, Azeez wasn’t called upon from the bench to inject much-needed inspiration.

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Yet Cowley remains wary of exposing the England under-20 international to negative match scenarios which may impact his development.

It’s a desire to identify the right time for his first-team participation which has led to the youngster being used sparingly in a struggling team.

Pompey’s boss told The News: ‘It’s unfortunate for Miguel.

‘We lost Clark (Robertson) who is that left-footed centre-half that can play into the left-half space which Miguel likes to play in and we’re not in a good moment.

‘He’s only 19, we are trying to set a young player up for success and we are not in a good enough moment to bring him into the team.

‘I couldn't bring him on against Ipswich, not at that time, not in this game. It would have been very, very difficult to come into the team in that moment. Very, very difficult.

‘He’s a young player finding his way in the game, so it’s your job as a manager to set him up to have success.

‘The team are playing with no rhythm and no control - and he’s a player that needs rhythm and control. We didn’t have it on Tuesday night.’

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Arsenal trust Pompey’s head coach to handle Azeez correctly having overseen Emile Smith Rowe at Huddersfield.

The talented midfielder spent the second half of the 2019-20 campaign with the Terriers when Cowley was boss.

It was a loan spell during which Smith Rowe flourished, returning to Arsenal at the second’s end to subsequently establish himself in their first-team.

He has now made 54 appearances and netted nine times for the Premier League giants.

Cowley’s handling of the youngster ensured Arsenal were willing to entrust him with Azeez, representing his first spell away from the Emirates.

However, to date, he has featured for just 59 minutes in Pompey’s first-team, with a start against Cambridge United last month.

Azeez has also been named on the Blues’ bench for five games this season, yet on each occasion not used, including at Rotherham and against Ipswich.

Now Cowley is weighing up whether to introduce the England under-20 international against Accrington on Saturday.

He added: ‘Will Azeez play at Accrington?

‘We have to go away and reflect, assess, come back together as a group and find some solutions.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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