Jack Jebb has started in the Under-19 tie with Napoli tonight, despite being charged with racial abuse just yesterday.
The Under-19’s thrashed Marseille in the first game of the competition a fortnight ago, with a double from Serge Gnabry setting the tone for a comfortable triumph.
But tonight there is surely only one inclusion in the team that has tongues wagging - that of Jack Jebb.
The technically gifted central midfielder has been dubbed the ‘next Jack Wilshere’ in some quarters, although that may be a slightly off base comparison.
But there is little doubt that the 18-year-old is a highly thought of and extremely talented individual - however his career took a nasty turn in March, which has only come to public attention today.
Jebb was accused of racial abuse in a game against Youth Cup winners Norwich City in March this year, after match officials lodged a complaint to The FA.
But innocent before proven guilty right, well in that case I should inform you that he was found guilty yesterday - and was handed a four game ban and £1,800 fine.
That ban applies to FA competitions only, so Jebb is eligible for the game tonight. But given the circumstances you would imagine Arsenal might let the situation cool off a bit first before throwing him into the spotlight.
Especially since Arsenal have a proud tradition of multi-culturalism and inclusivity. For instance when a fan racially abused Cheick Tiote in March 2012 the club announced:
‘’Arsenal Football Club does not tolerate foul language, racist chanting, homophobic chanting or any anti-social behaviour at Emirates Stadium, and we will continue to act with zero tolerance towards any individual found to be acting in an abusive manner.’’
But Jebb is playing!
He has been named in Steve Gatting’s starting line-up at Borehamwood this evening.
Now Jebb maintains his innocence and I am not here to soapbox judge, but it surely makes sense to leave him out of the equation this evening, so soon after he made the national papers for the wrong reasons.
I don’t know the details, so cannot judge but I do know common sense, and I do not see any in the decision to play Jebb this evening.
As I write Arsenal have just gone 1-0 up through Chuba Akpom, let us see if Jebb finds the score-sheet as well.
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