Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed the “fantastic” qualities showcased by Ryo Miyaichi since the young winger joined up with the Gunners' squad for pre-season training earlier this month.
Miyaichi has yet to make a senior appearance for Arsenal since his arrival from the Japanese school system last January, but impressed greatly in a five-month loan spell with Feyenoord, scoring three times in 12 appearances.
The 18-year-old has been included in Arsene Wenger’s squad for the upcoming pre-season tour of the Far East, and speculation is rife that the youngster will be given the opportunity to force his way into the Gunners' first XI next season if he impresses further.
Wenger himself did nothing to dispel the rumours as he spoke of Miyaichi in glowing terms ahead of the first leg of his side’s Asian tour, in Malaysia.
“Ryo has been a fantastic surprise to us,” he told reporters. “He did well at Feyenoord after basically coming from school football.
"He is a very exciting prospect because he is quick and has a quick brain.”
Miyaichi’s immediate future at Arsenal may be unclear, but two youngsters who Wenger confirmed will be competing for first-team places next year are academy graduate Emmanuel Frimpong, whose progress last season was curtailed by injury, and summer signing Carl Jenkinson.
“We are very happy to have Frimpong back because he had a good start last year but unfortunately got an injury,” he added.
“Jenkinson is an interesting buy. We bought him from Charlton and hopefully he will push [Bacary] Sagna.”
By Liam Twomey