Pundit admits to being wowed by Arsenal youngster who’d initially gone under his radar

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Garth Crooks admits he’s taken notice of Arsenal youngster Nuno Tavares now after his fine recent run in Mikel Arteta’s side.

The 21-year-old was not the biggest name when he made the move to Arsenal from Benfica in the summer, and many were surely expecting he’d be little more than a squad player due to the presence of Kieran Tierney at left-back.

Still, Tavares has really impressed in recent games in Tierney’s absence, and Crooks has now singled him out for praise after including him in his latest Premier League team of the week column on BBC Sport.

Discussing Tavares’ rise, Crooks said: “This kid had passed me by, but he’s certainly on my radar now. I’ve always admired full-backs who are not afraid to try and have an impact on the game.

“If Tavares wasn’t running into the opposition’s half with the ball he was trying to put one of his team-mates through on goal. The assist for Bukayo Saka’s goal was quite brilliant.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how Arteta responds to Tavares’ run of form, with the Spanish tactician likely to be under pressure to bring the more experienced Tierney back into the side soon.

Tavares has given the manager a real headache, however, and a very welcome one at that.

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