Dallas Soccer DFW

Arsenal Youth Dallas Cup Preview

Published 4/13/2011 3:49:41 PM by Giuseppe Muro from arsenal.com

Arsenal’s youngsters will pit their wits against some of the best youth teams in the world when they travel to America for the Dallas Cup this week.  Neil Banfield and Steve Bould take a 22 man squad across the pond for an exciting adventure that will see them face an array of footballing cultures in one of the world’s elite youth tournaments.
The young Gunners, England’s sole representatives, go into a group of four teams with the top two progressing to the semifinals. Arsenal kick off their campaign against local side Dallas Texans on Monday, April 17 before facing Chorrillo FC of Panama a day later.
Bolivian outfit Club Bolivar are last up in the group stages on Wednesday, meaning Arsenal face a testing schedule of three games in just four days.  Should they progress from group stages, they could meet European giants Barcelona, Eintracht Frankfurt or the Japanese Under-18 national team for a place in the Final.

For Banfield, the competition will play a key role in the development of the next generation of Arsenal stars.  “It’s a tournament we’ve been invited to and Liam Brady has decided to accept the invitation to give our lads some exposure to different styles of football and to be involved in a very good competition,” he told Arsenal.com.
“It’s going to be a great experience; looking at diverse styles of football, travelling away and playing a number of games in a short space of time. These are all things the players will come up against that maybe they aren’t used to. So it will be a good test for us. But it’s the whole aspect of it and not just the football side. Learning to get over one game and preparing for the next game is a continuation of their development process.  It’s a really tough tournament and we are looking forward to testing our tactics and skills against these teams.”
The squad of 22 making the trip will be largely drawn from Banfield’s Reserve side and, with a wealth of Academy players making up the bulk of the current second string, the Arsenal side has a youthful look to it. But there is a dash of first-team experience in the shape of Conor Henderson, captain Ignasi Miquel and the returning Emmanuel Frimpong.
James Shea, along with Rhys Murphy, doesn’t meet the tournament’s age requirements meaning young Argentine Damien Martinez and Sean McDermott will jostle for a place between the posts.
“It was Steve [Bould]’s group and I’ve taken them on. It’s the group that we have both worked with over the last 18 months. It’s a development group that we are taking to Dallas with some first-year scholars and some second-year scholars that have been in the Reserves,” explained Banfield.  “We will be a young group but that’s the way we do things at this Club and that’s the way we look to the future with the development of our players.”
Young squad or not, Banfield knows the team will be representing Arsenal Football Club. With that in mind, he expects the players to give everything and return to north London with the trophy.
“Of course, wherever we go and whatever we do, we want to win. That’s what being a top player at Arsenal is all about.  You have to be a winner and we will go there trying our hardest to win the competition. It should be a good trip and we are looking forward to it.”
Arsenal squad (in order of squad number)
1. Damian Martinez
2. Sead Hajrovic
3. George Brislen-Hall
4. Emmanuel Frimpong
5.Daniel Boateng
6. Ignasi Miquel
7. Roarie Deacon
8. Oguzhan Ozyakup
9. Jeffrey Monakana
10. Conor Henderson
11. Luke Freeman
12. Kyle Ebecilio
13. Sean McDermott
14. Jamie Edge
15. Martin Angha
16. Elton Monteiro
17. Josh Rees
18. Alban Bunjaku
19. Samir Bihmoutine
20. Callum Webb
21. Jordan Wynter
22. Zak Ansah
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