When Arsenal completed the signing of prospect Jordan McEneff last summer there was a considerable amount of excitement amongst the youth coaching staff that the Irishman could go on to become a fine player.
His initial period of development at Arsenal, though, has been hampered by an injury that has prevented him from being able to play so far this season.
However, McEneff, who can play as an attacking midfielder, out wide or as a striker, is now closing in on a return to action and will be eager to make up for lost time.
McEneff impressed during trials for Arsenal before the club eventually decided to sign him and, when he is fully fit, it seems clear that he will fit in well given his excellent dribbling and passing.
The youngster relishes moving the ball quickly and has excellent vision, which should see him connect well with Arsenal’s forwards at U18 level, Folarin Balogun and Tyreece John-Jules, who link play extremely effectively.
Arsenal already have many creative talents at their disposal at U18 level, but McEneff will look to quickly establish himself in the starting lineup for Kwame Ampadu’s side and he should have a good chance of achieving that objective now that some players, such as Emile Smith Rowe, are starting to become increasingly involved with the U23s.
Despite missing the first half of the season, there is a good chance that McEneff could find himself in the U23s in the near future given the quality that he possesses.
The youngster previously represented Nothern Ireland at youth level before switching his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland, for whom he has produced some encouraging displays.
McEneff will certainly require a period of adjustment to get used to playing regularly again but when fully fit he is one of the most highly regarded players in this season’s scholarship intake at Arsenal.
Having seen the likes of Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah involved in cup competitions for the first-team this season, McEneff will know that he could well receive opportunities in due course if he catches the eye at youth level.
For now, though, McEneff will simply be relishing playing again following a nightmare start to his Arsenal career.