It isn’t just Arsenal’s first-team players who suffer with long-term injuries. Tafari Moore spent a significant proportion of last season on the sidelines and this campaign he has endured several fitness setbacks.
Now, however, the 18-year-old is back in the thick of the action and he is determined to make up for lost times as he looks to gain his first experience of professional football.
Moore received a major boost earlier this month when he signed a new contract with the club. His previous deal had been set to run out at the end of June, but the fact that Arsenal have offered the right-back fresh terms despite his injury problems is a measure of the faith that they have in him.
The England youth international may not be the most high profile prospect in Arsenal’s ranks, but he is highly regarded within the club, as evidenced by the fact that he featured prominently for the U21s during his first season as a scholar.
Last season was extremely frustrating for Moore, but the youngster will be hopeful of re-establishing himself as the regular right-back for the second-string, especially given that his main challenger in that regard, Chiori Johnson, hasn’t featured this campaign because of an injury of his own.
Moore has enjoyed much success on the international stage- he was part of the England U17 side that won the European Championships for that age group in 2014- and he has subsequently been capped by the Three Lions at U19 level.
Now, however, Moore’s focus is primarily on his development at club level and, given that he has spent so long on the sidelines, the youngster’s main aim in the second half of the season will be to play as regularly as possible for the U21s and in the UEFA Youth League.
Next season Moore is likely to experience his first loan spell away from the club and how he fares during that venture is likely to play a major part in dictating his long-term Arsenal future.
Moore could feature when Arsenal take on their Swansea City counterparts at U21 level a week today. With the game taking place behind closed doors at London Colney, there is a good chance that Arsene Wenger will be watching and the Frenchman’s presence would surely give the youngster an additional incentive to succeed.
With Mathieu Debuchy potentially leaving this month, either permanently or on loan, some good performances from Moore could see the academy product drafted in for some senior training sessions, even though he isn’t currently experienced enough to be considered as an option for the first-team in a competitive game.