Sometimes your opportunity to impress can arrive rather sooner than was initially anticipated, and that is certainly the case with Joseph Olowu.
Despite not having played for Arsenal’s U18 side prior to last season, the tall centre-back now has a chance to establish himself as a regular at U23 level as a consequence of Krystian Bielik’s departure on loan and the club’s lack of faith in Kristopher Da Graca.
It has been well documented that Arsenal have found it incredibly difficult to produce high quality defenders in recent seasons, but Olowu, who featured prominently for the U18s in the first half of the campaign, is hoping to herald a new era for the club’s academy.
Having been born in Nigeria, Olowu moved to England at a young age and is eligible to play for either country at international level. For now, though, the prospect is mainly focused on club football and, after making his debut against Derby County last month, Olowu received his second run-out for the U23s in the defeat to Everton this week.
It seems likely that Olowu will be heavily involved with the U23s for the remainder of the campaign and the Hale End graduate, who possesses impressive leadership skills, will benefit immensely from the additional exposure that he will receive.
Although he hasn’t yet signed professional terms, the 17-year-old is highly regarded by the youth coaching staff at Arsenal, as demonstrated by the fact that he was quickly installed as a main part of the U18 side this season ahead of the likes of Daniel Ballard and Tobi Omole.
A player who likes to bring the ball out from the back, Olowu is still raw in some aspects of his game and can get caught out of position at times but he is ready to justify the faith that the club have shown in him.
Olowu’s hard-working nature and determination to improve has been evident this season and now, having been presented with an opportunity to thrive, he will be eager to take his chance.