Arsenal manager Unai Emery has followed in his predecessor’s Arsene Wenger’s footsteps by handing young Gunners opportunities whenever possible.
Emery has decided to rotate his Gunners side before a mammoth clash against Liverpool on Saturday and 21-year-old Spaniard Julio Pleguezuelo has been handed his Arsenal debut.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the defender who Arsenal prised away from Barcelona’s notorious La Masia academy.
Before moving to Arsenal Pleguezuelo was in the youth setups at Espanyol and Atletico Madrid, after impressing for Atleti the talented defender joined the youth ranks at Barcelona.
Arsenal made a move to sign the defender as soon as he turned 16 in 2013 and Pleguezuelo is now in his sixth season with the Gunners.
Pleguezuelo has a wealth of experience for his tender age, the Spaniard returned to his homeland for loan spells during the 2016/17 season with Mallorca and the centre-back also spent the second half of last season on loan at Gimnastic.
Experience in Spain’s second division will help the youngster transition smoothly to first team football for the Gunners.
Arsenal’s official website also describe Pleguezuelo as a “natural leader” which will be music to Arsenal fans’ ears. The Gunners have been crying out for someone who is able to take responsibility in defence in the last few years.
Given Pleguezuelo’s natural leadership qualities the youngster has often captained the Arsenal reserve sides, his surprisingly mature character for his tender age could prove to be integral for the Gunners.
Pleguezuelo will become the 860th player to represent the Arsenal first team when he makes his debut against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup tonight.