A lot has changed for Cohen Bramall in a very short space of time but the left-back certainly doesn’t look out of place at Arsenal.
A surprise January signing from non-league side Hednesford Town, Bramall has had several training sessions with the Arsenal senior squad since his arrival, but has been playing for the U23s, for whom he has made seven appearances so far.
Although there were some initial teething problems – he was caught out defensively on a couple of occasions in his early outings for the club – Bramall has become increasingly assured of late and produced his best performance to date in the U23s’ 5-2 victory over Reading this week.
The 21-year-old was a frequent threat down the left flank with his searing speed and Reading simply couldn’t cope with him as he scored his first goal for the club and set up Yaya Sanogo’s second.
Bramall has also noticeably made steps forward with regards to the defensive side of his game and is now making more precisely timed judgements regarding when to push forwards.
Arsenal have two more U23 games remaining this season – away to Sunderland and at home to Manchester United. If fit, Bramall will start both games and he will hope to make a major impact as the young Gunners look to conclude their campaign strongly.
Next season, however, will be pivotal for Bramall as it is the year in which a concrete decision will be made regarding his Arsenal future.
Essentially, Bramall will either force his way into the first-team squad or be released – with his age dictating that he doesn’t have as much time on his side as many of the other players in Arsenal’s U23 team.
The early signs suggest that Bramall could well fulfil his objective of succeeding at Arsenal. He offers something rather different with his directness and sharp crosses, while the fact that he has come from non-league football means that Bramall knows that hard work is essential in order to progress.
There is uncertainty surrounding Arsenal’s left-back options in the first-team at present, especially with Kieran Gibbs’ contract expiring at the end of next season, and if he continues to progress then it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Bramall could become the club’s second choice option in that position in time for the 2018/19 campaign.
Bramall has certainly fared well so far but he must continue to develop further.