The latest reason behind Arsenal loanee Miguel Azeez's lack of game time at Portsmouth

Danny Cowley has provided further insight into Miguel Azeez’s lack of game time during his current loan spell from Arsenal.

By Mark McMahon
Saturday, 30th October 2021, 4:56 am

The Pompey boss previously stated he was waiting for a ‘good moment’ to reintroduce the 19-year-old to the first-team picture as the Blues battle for form in League One.

The England under-20 international has featured only once for the Fratton Park outfit since his move from the Emirates Stadium just before the close of the summer transfer window.

Now Cowley has admitted the midfielder – who has been inactive for his new side since that 59-minute run-out against Cambridge United on September 18 – is being educated on how to play without the ball having not had many chances to develop that specific skill at Arsenal.

The Blues boss said Azeez was closing in on a return after working hard on that aspect of his game in training.

But he stressed it is an important learning exercise as youngsters from the Premier League’s top sides grow up to be accustomed to dominating the ball – a luxury which sides in the third tier, like Pompey, don’t often have in games.

Cowley told The News: 'He's not far at all (from getting more minutes).

Miguel Azeez is on loan at Pompey from Arsenal

‘He's been working really hard, he's just learning the game against the ball.

‘You have to remember we had Emile Smith Rowe and Trevor Chalobah from Chelsea as well at Huddersfield.

'They've all come through academies and they're not used to not dominating the ball.

'Miguel’s footballing life has been probably been 80 per cent in possession - the Arsenal's and the Chelsea's dominate the ball to that level.

'There have been aspects to work on, certainly in terms of his understanding and intensity against the ball, that's what we'll focus on.

'The great thing about him, he's a humble boy, he wants to learn and get better.'

Since arriving at Pompey, Azeez has missed out on opportunities to build on his sole appearance to date because of international commitments.

He has been unavailable for the Blues’ two Papa John’s Trophy ties – games which prove vital for fringe players – and is set to miss out on the fixture against Crystal Palace under-21s on November 9 for similar reasons.

A groin injury last month also got in the way.

So Cowley was this week delighted to have an uninterrupted opportunity to work with the player in the build up to today’s game against Bolton.

The Blues boss added: 'He picked up an injury and within all that he's also been on two England camps, so we haven't had loads of him.

'This has probably been the first time we've had a full week from Saturday to Saturday (working with him), which has been really good.

'For us, it's always our responsibility with the young players, to set them up for success.

'When a team hasn't been playing so well, hasn't had so much rhythm, we've had to be a little more patient then we'd have liked.’