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FORGOTTEN in the euphoria of Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day was the inclusion of Amario Cozier-Duberry on the sub’s bench.
Sure, the Gunners are a little light in attacking areas – with the absence of Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Jesus felt.
But, Cozier-Duberry’s selection was not down to sentimentality.
He was picked after impressing boss Mikel Arteta with a standout display against Juventus in a mid-season break friendly.
Only 17, the winger has been compared to Bukayo Saka because he boasts similar attributes – agility, running with the ball at pace, and has an eye for goal.
Cozier-Duberry is recognised as the jewel of the Hale End academy – and is tipped to follow the England star’s lead into the Gunners first team.
Thrust into the first team
Arsenal’s Dubai training camp gave youngsters like Cozier-Duberry the perfect platform to wow Arteta and his coaching team.
And clearly he made his mark as he worked alongside the senior pros.
The electric wide man appeared in both the friendlies against Lyon and AC Milan earlier this month, before a dazzling cameo at the Emirates against Juventus.
It was just reward as Cozier-Duberry continues to rise through the ranks.
The London-born talent joined Arsenal when he was 14, and has progressed through the youth teams.
Last season, he appeared 20 times for the U18 side – making eight goal contributions.
He was also thrown into U23 football to aid his rapid development.
Signed pro terms
Back in the summer, Cozier-Duberry signed his first pro contract with the club.
The ambitious teenager immediately set his sights on breaking into Arteta’s squad.
He told Arsenal’s official website: “It’s a great achievement and I’m really grateful for this opportunity
“My ambition is to break into the under-23’s squad more and hopefully get my chance with the first team too.”
Given Saka, Smith Rowe and 15-year-old wonderkid Ethan Nwaneri were all handed opportunities after graduating from Hale End, that is not a pipe dream.
Speaking after the win against AC Milan, Arteta was full of praise for the youngsters – who were given minutes to play with the first team regulars.
He said: “I think (the young players) have been absolutely brilliant. The boys they’ve been really helpful.
“The under-18s, the 16s and 21s maintained the level and the standards that we need. I think we competed really well against a really, really good side.”
With an FA Cup third round tie against Oxford United on the horizon, Cozier-Duberry could be handed a debut soon.
Expect fireworks when he does.
Arsenal academy star Cozier-Duberry plays like Saka and has impressed Arteta
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