Chuks Aneke grabbed a goal against Walsall in a historic match for Crewe Alexandra this weekend; but what next for the gifted midfielder?
Crewe Alexandra have a rich history of producing and sourcing a litany of young talent over the years. The likes of Neil Lennon, Dean Ashton and Danny Murphy have all come through the ranks under the tutelage of Dario Gradi and his team at the Cheshire club.
That rich tradition has been continued by Steve Davis at the club and that saw Nick Powell vacate the club for Manchester United last summer and the utilisation of talented youngsters such as Luke Murphy, Max Clayton and Kelvin Mellor in the first-team fold.
That youthful outlook has certainly not prevented success for The Railwaymen. Last season they won the play-offs and earned promotion from League Two to League One while this year Davis took them to Wembley again and won the Football League Trophy.
With their league status safe Davis decided to experiment this weekend with a quite exceptional starting line-up. All eleven of the players who took to the field at the start of play on Saturday were reared in the Crewe Alexandra youth academy.
Quite incredible a gesture by the manager and a real show of the clubs strength; especially as they ran out 2-0 winners against Walsall.
But the decision to play this history making side left one player who perhaps did not deserve it on the bench. Chuks Aneke has been on loan at Gresty Road from Arsenal all season and in recent weeks has really come to the fore playing behind the frontmen.
Tall, strong and skilful Arsene Wenger compared him once to Manchester City powerhouse Yaya Toure and the 19-year-old has certainly demonstrated some of his talent this season.
He came into the action on Saturday and finished the game off; his delightful curling effort from the edge of the box wrapped up the game at 2-0.
It has been a great campaign this season and when he turns 20-years-old this summer he is surely starting to knock on the door of the Arsenal first-team.
What should do they with him next season?
The best option would likely be sending him out on loan to a Championship side to see if he can go up one level from his current standing. It may be too early for the lad to make the breakthrough at Arsenal but if they nurture him properly there is every chance he can be a Cesc Fabregas or Jack Wilshere type rather than an Henri Lansbury or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
What do you think Arsenal should do with Chuks Aneke next season?
image: © EEPaul