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Can This Republic of Ireland Starlet Follow The Footsteps Of Bellerin And Wilshere At Arsenal?

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Jordan McEneff – The Player With The Potential To Be The Next Big Thing At Arsenal

16-year old Jordan McEneff has signed a two-year contract with Arsenal. The Republic of Ireland youth international impressed on trial in North London with Arsenal’s Head of Recruitment and former N. Ireland and Gunners’ midfielder, Steve Morrow, personally asking manager Arsene Wenger to offer him a two-year contract to the much coveted senior squad. This is indeed a big step-up for the teenager.

The teenager will join the club’s Under-18 squad hoping to work his way up through the system to the first team. He was quoted by the Metro,

“I’ve settled in really well in London. I know all the boys at the digs from coming over this past couple of years. When you’re at Arsenal it’s obviously the aim to one day play for the first team.”

“So I’m playing for the next contract and hopefully I can get a bigger and better one and then move on through the ranks – up to the U23s and then on to the first team someday. It’s exciting. Especially when people back home are so supportive.”

Jordan’s elder brother, Aaron McEneff signed a two-year scholarship deal at the White Hart Lane club in 2012 before securing a one-year professional contract in 2014, and is now playing for Derry City in the Airtricity League. Now a mentor for his younger brother, Jordan believes Aaron’s experience has braced him for how mentally and physically taxing it is at the top level.

“With Aaron being over before, he’s been able to tell me a lot about it,” explained Jordan. “He’s told me about the mistakes he made and is helping me make sure I don’t make the same.”

It’s been a hugely successful year so far for the young Derry man, and he turned eyes recently with a magical piece of skill when representing N. Ireland in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland. He later went on to make the switch to the Republic and netted the winning goal on his debut in the final minute against Hungary in a U-16 friendly.

The Arsenal Hale End Academy saw a vacancy at the top when Academy Manager Andries Jonker departed to take over as Wolfsburg manager. Luke Hobbs, former head of football operations at Hale End, will take the reins until the end of 2018, after which club captain Per Mertesacker, who retiring end of the season, will take over as Academy Manager for Arsenal.

In recent times, Nigerian international Alex Iwobi progressed through the same scholarship programme to make 59 appearances for the Arsenal first team while Hector Bellerin and England internationals, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs are also graduates from the same youth system. There have been plenty others who left the club, spread out across Europe – Serge Gnabry at Bayern, Harvard Nordtveit at Hoffenheim, and Oguzhan Özyakup at Besiktas, to name a few.

Hopefully, McEneff makes it big at Arsenal and fulfils his potential, following in the footsteps of the likes of Bellerin, Wilshere and Gibbs.