The large number of Arsenal Academy graduates who fail to make a sustained impact at the club has been well documented, but within the confines of London Colney there is hope that two developing full-backs could go on to have sustained careers at the top level.
With several players in their respective positions having recently departed either permanently or on loan, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, an 18 year old left-back and Tafari Moore, a right-back who does not turn 17 until the Summer, have established themselves as key components of Steve Gatting’s U21 side in recent weeks.
Ormonde-Ottewill, despite only being in his second year as a full-time footballer, already possesses considerable pedigree for a player his age, having trained with Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad on several occasions. Very assured defensively, the England U18 international is also a threat in the opposing penalty area and scored his first goal at U21 level in the 2-2 draw away to Norwich City last week.
Moore (pictured above), who has been capped by England at U17 level, was a relative unknown a year ago, but the departure of Hector Bellerin on loan to Watford has benefitted him enormously, with the youngster slotting in well at right-back for the second-string. Strong in the challenge and calm in possession, he can still appear a little raw at times but is developing rapidly and has certainly not looked out of place for the U21s, for whom he has now featured five times.
Moore, given that he only commenced his scholarship this season, has plenty of time on his side and is likely to remain with the U21 team for the entirety of next season, but Ormonde-Ottewill is approaching the stage of his development where a loan spell would be a useful pathway to first-team football.
Such a scenario is unlikely to happen until midway through next season, but, with Jernade Meade no longer at the club and no real contenders in his position who are younger than him, Ormonde-Ottewill appears to have a very good chance of making the first-team squad at some point in the future, so long as he keeps progressing at his current rate.
The future looks bright for both Moore and Ormonde-Ottewill, but having seen several players in recent years tipped to make the breakthrough before eventually failing to do so, they will both be all too aware of the difficult challenges that await them in their quest to reach the top.