Arteta calls up ‘superb’ midfield talent to Arsenal training pre-Zurich, been compared to Ozil

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been putting his players through their paces ahead of their Europa League opener on Thursday.

The Gunners get their European campaign under way at 5:45pm BST, against FC Zurich at St Gallen’s Kybunpark.

On Wednesday, Arsenal undertook their last training session ahead of setting off for Switzerland. reported that Arteta named a number of academy players in the session.

With Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric Soares reportedly missing training, three midfielders and a full-back from the youth setup took part in the session.

These, according to, were Matt Smith, Amario Cozier-Duberry, Catalin Cirjan and Lino Sousa were all involved.

Smith is a player that many Arsenal fans will be somewhat familiar with.

The 21-year-old made the FA Cup final squad in 2020 ahead of Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi.

‘A player with a great future ahead of him’

Smith joined the Arsenal ranks aged eight and currently plays for their Under-21s.

He has also taken in three loan stints while on the Gunners’ books – at Swindon, Charlton and Doncaster.

The Arsenal website has described him as a ‘technically gifted central midfielder with an impressive passing range’.

As per, coaches at Arsenal have deemed Smith a ‘composed midfielder with an eye for a pass’.

They have also described him as a player who ‘typically looks to operate as a deep-lying playmaker, tasked with controlling the tempo of games and picking out runners in the final third.’ added: ‘Arteta should be taking notice of Smith. He is a player with a great future ahead of him and he is already making all of the right noises at youth-level.

‘Mesut Ozil’s has recently struggled in the role of being Arsenal’s architect to make things happen and with Smith’s creative ability on the ball he may see himself as a long-term successor for the German.’

Meanwhile, Arsenal youth team expert Jeorge Bird has called him a ‘superb passer’.

And Smith has even been compared to Ozil on Twitter.


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