NIGERIAN-born midfielder Tim Akinola has been promoted to Arsenal first team by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta this week to make up for the absence of several players who are away on national duty.
Central midfielder Akinola, 19, joined Arsenal in the summer from English Championship side Huddersfield Town. He was signed without a trial after video analysis by Arsenal coaches and up until now, the box-to-to-box midfielder had been training with the club’s under-23s and academy players.
With international football taking place this week, as many as 12 Arsenal players are away on national team duty and to make up for their absence, Mr Arteta has decided to promote promising youngsters into the first team. He singled Akinola out as a promising youngster with similar qualities to Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.
Apart from Akinola, Nigerian-born Folarin Balogun also trained with the Arsenal first team this week. Before joining Huddersfield Town in June 2019, Tim was at Lincoln City, where his progress was rewarded by breaking into the first-team squad.