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Arsenal youngster given first team pathway by Mikel Arteta amid right-back decision

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Arsenal have had a nightmare with the fitness of their starting full backs over the course of the previous season. In fact, I would go as far as to say it was one of the determining factors behind missing out on the Champions League places.

For comparison, Chelsea, initially touted as title challengers lost both Ben Chilwell and Reece James for an extended period and watched their season peter out. Arsenal lost Takehiro Tomiyasu for effectively half of the campaign and Kieran Tierney for the entirety of the run-in.

This meant that backup options Nuno Tavares and Cedric Soares had plenty of game time. The Portuguese pair had moments worthy of praise, but the final run-in saw the worst of them both.

However, the Athletic further their claims regarding Arsenal’s full backs, reporting the club are happy with their current senior right-back options. Despite criticisms of Cedric, the club aren’t looking to replace the experienced figure.

This might seem naïve although, there is a factor that might not immediately be obvious to consider. The Gunners have an exciting right-back on their books by the name of Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

The 18-year-old was a revelation in League One and looked a class above his teammates despite his young age. Viral clips of the teenager taking on the opposition with technical runs combine

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton went as far as to claim he could safely say the 18-year-old would become an Arsenal regular. Although mentioned it may take some time yet before it becomes a reality.

“I don’t want Arsenal ringing me up saying ‘what have you said that for?’ But I’ve been saying it behind the scenes, I think he will play for Arsenal’s first team on a regular basis. It might not be for a couple of years but it’s definitely going to happen.

“He’ll hopefully continue his progression over the next few games. There are one or two things that I think I can help him with, but by the time he goes back to Arsenal, he’ll be much better.”

With Arsenal deciding to stick with the 29-year-old Cedric and a versatile Tomiyasu, the pathway is left open for Norton-Cuffy to develop through. Had the club decided to bring in a player, the chance to see what the teenager could offer would have dissipated.

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