One of the most intriguing aspects of youth football is witnessing the progression that individuals make throughout the course of a season and Charlie Gilmour is one player who has certainly developed significantly this campaign.
At times it has been a rather frustrating season for the midfielder, who has often been a substitute for the U23s and on some occasions has been left out of the squad entirely.
However, in recent games he has become increasingly involved in proceedings and he played a major part on Tuesday night as Arsenal’s youngsters beat Villarreal on penalties to secure their place in the final of the Premier League International Cup.
An expert penalty taker, Gilmour scored from the spot both during the match and in the shootout, but it was his overall performance that was the biggest plus point.
The 19-year-old demonstrated his composure in possession as he played some defence-splitting passes, while he also worked extremely hard to win the ball back and provide the team with stability in midfield.
Gilmour’s composed display gave Josh Dasilva and Joe Willock the licence to push further forwards and the Scottish youth international will hope that he can end the campaign in positive fashion.
Arsenal have a chance to win the Premier League 2 title, while they will take on Porto B in the final of the Premier League International Cup.
If they were to win one or both of those competitions then it would be an excellent reward for the effort that they have put in this campaign, and for Gilmour it will be especially special given the difficulties that he has endured.
As a schoolboy Gilmour was widely seen as a potential star of the future for Arsenal, but in the ensuing period the likes of Willock and Dasilva have gone on to make more of an impact and get closer to the first-team squad.
Gilmour’s recent resurgence, however, suggests that all is not yet lost for him at Arsenal and if he continues to improve then involvement in cup competitions for the first-team could come his way in the future.
One aspect of his game that still requires finetuning is his recklessness, with Gilmour sometimes clattering into challenges and often getting booked, but his overall development has been encouraging this campaign.
Next season could see the youngster, who was named on the bench against BATE Borisov in the Europa League earlier this campaign, go out on loan as he looks to test himself at first-team level, but for now he is relishing being given an opportunity to take centre stage for the U23s.