Mikel Arteta was pleased to give Ghanaian promising forward Charles Sagoe Jr his first taste of first team action, after the teenager made an unexpected debut in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup win over Brentford on Wednesday night.
The Gunners beat the Bees 1-0 thanks to a goal from Reiss Nelson and earned themselves a fourth round clash with West Ham.
It was a much-changed Arsenal team, with the likes of Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice and William Saliba all rested from the starting XI.
Academy product Sagoe Jr came into the front three alongside Nelson and Eddie Nketiah, which Arteta was pleased to do, rewarding the 19-year-old’s consistency in the youth teams of late.
‘Obviously the context of the situation with a lot of injured players helped that possibility. But every time we can we have to look in our academy and give chances,’ Arteta told a post-match press conference.
‘Chaz was probably one of the most consistent players we’ve had in the under-23s for a few months.
‘He’s been training with us quite a lot and it’s about giving opportunities to people and if we don’t give it today, when are we going to give opportunities to our youngsters?
‘I’m really happy that he had a good experience.’
On Sagoe Jr’s best position, Arteta said: ‘He’s a winger. He plays off the right, off the left, he’s played as a nine as well this season quite a lot of minutes so he’s quite versatile in those positions.
‘It’s great to have him around and see how he develops.’
Sagoe Jr had made it onto the bench for one Europa League game in the past but had not made a first team debut before the trip to Brentford.
He will be hoping it is the first of many opportunities to play under Arteta, although the fitness issues the likes of Saka, Martinelli and Leandro Trossard are not expected to keep them out for long.