The Hale End wonderkids behind Arsenal's thrilling FA Youth Cup run: From Ethan Nwaneri to Myles Lewis-Skelly

Arsenal FA Youth Cup 2023 HIC 16:9
Who could be the new Bukayo Saka? And who's already made history at 15 years of age? GOAL reveals all...

There are few clubs in the country with as impressive a track record as Arsenal when it comes to producing top young talent. Just a quick look at Mikel Arteta’s current squad tells you all you need to know, with homegrown stars such as Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah all playing a major role in the first team.

And several graduates from Arsenal’s famous Hale End academy are also starring while out on loan this season, including Folarin Balogun, with Reims, and Charlie Patino at Blackpool.

But what about the next batch of talent coming through? Who are the youngsters currently inspiring Jack Wilshere's Under-18s exciting side on their run to Tuesday's FA Youth Cup final meeting with West Ham?

GOAL takes a look below...

  1. Amario Cozier-Duberry

    Amario Cozier-Duberry

    The teenage winger is enjoying a breakthrough season and has been rewarded by being included in some first-team match day squads by Arteta.

    And although Cozier-Duberry has yet to make his competitive debut for the senior side, the London-born attacker did feature against AC Milan and Lyon in the Dubai Super Cup, and also came off the bench when Arsenal hosted Juventus in their final warm-up game before the return of the Premier League following the World Cup.

    So, a first first-team appearance only feels like a matter of time for Cozier-Duberry, especially if he continues to develop at the impressive rate he has been over the past 12 months.

    This is a player who models himself on Saka and openly admits to dreaming of following in his fellow Hale End graduate’s footsteps at Arsenal.

    He certainly has many similarities to Saka, with his favoured position wide on the right so that he can cut inside and use his excellent left foot.

    He’s also quick, can beat his man and has proven at both U18s and U23s level that he has a fine eye for goal.

  2. Ethan Nwaneri
    Getty Images.

    Ethan Nwaneri

    The midfielder shot to fame earlier this season when he made his Premier League debut at just 15 years old.

    Indeed, when Nwaneri came off the bench for the closing minutes of that 3-0 win, he became Arsenal’s youngest-ever player and the youngest-ever player to feature in an English top-flight game.

    That remains his only appearance for the Gunners, but it is not expected to be his last – providing he agrees to sign his first professional contract.

    Nwaneri does not turn 16 until March and Manchester City and Chelsea are both believed to be keen on luring him away from north London before he commits to signing a professional deal.

    Arsenal do not want to lose one of their top talents and remain hopeful of convincing him to stay by showing him that he has a clear pathway to the first team.

    Nwaneri showed his quality with a superb goal in the 3-2 win against Cambridge in the Youth Cup quarter-final.

  3. Myles Lewis-Skelly

    Myles Lewis-Skelly

    At 16, Lewis-Skelly is slightly older than Nwaneri, but is just as highly rated.

    Again, rival clubs are looking to tempt away the midfielder – who hit the headlines when he scored on his U18s debut against Reading while aged just 14.

    Arsenal are doing all they can to convince him to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 in September, because they know the potential he possesses.

    Lewis-Skelly can operate all across the midfield, such is his talent, and likes to drive forward to support the attack when he can.

    Arteta included the teenager in the squad for Arsenal’s trip to compete in the Dubai Super Cup during the recent World Cup break and he made a substitute appearance in the win over Lyon.

    He was the semi-final hero in the Youth Cup, too, heading in the winner against Manchester City in the last minute of extra-time to book the Gunners' place in Tuesday's showpiece.

  4. Omari Benjamin

    Omari Benjamin

    Another supremely talented attacker, Benjamin is a player Arsenal have very high hopes for.

    The 17-year-old has been with the club since he was 12 and had progressed rapidly through the age groups.

    He has already made the step up to the U21s this season, although he is more of a regular with Wilshere’s U18s, where he has been in fine form.

    Benjamin’s career highlight to date was scoring a first-half hat-trick against Spurs earlier this season.

    He currently plays for Wales at youth level, but also qualifies for England, Jamaica and Barbados.

  5. Lino Sousa

    Lino Sousa

    Although Sousa did not technically graduate from Hale End, the teenager is still worthy of mention because he is one of the most promising prospects at Arsenal.

    He was brought in from West Brom as a 17-year-old in January 2022, and has made a big impact during his time with the club.

    Whether it be with the U21s or the U18s, the left-back has impressed and is now regularly selected by Arteta to train with the first-team at London Colney.

    Like Cozier-Duberry and Lewis-Skelly, Sousa was part of the travelling squad for the Dubai Super Cup and he caught the eye when he came off the bench against Lyon and AC Milan.

    There are many who think Sousa will soon be pushing for a regular spot in Arteta’s squad and that would not be a surprise, given his rapid rate of development since arriving in north London.