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Five facts about Elson Monteiro - A future Arsenal captain?

Arsenal have called up promising youngster Elson Monteiro to their Champions League squad.

Arsenal have announced their squad for tomorrow's Champions League clash with Olympiakos, and there are a number of fresh faces filling in for injured or rested first team stars.

Among them is Elson Monteiro, an exciting prospect in the club's ranks. Let us explain why, with five facts about the player.

1) Monteiro is the fourth Swiss centre-back to come through Arsenal's academy in recent years, following Phillipe Senderos, Johan Djourou, and fellow youth team star Martin Angha.

2) Despite being born in Switzerland, the defender is eligible to play for Portugal via his family.

3) Monteiro is just 18-years-old, and was born in February 1994, just three days after Paul Merson secured the Gunners a 1-1 draw with Everton.

4) He is the captain of Arsenal's under-18 side, and is described as a 'commanding presence' at the back. Last season he made more appearances than any other player in Arsenal's academy, also featuring several times for the reserves and and has played in the NextGen Series this season.

5) Even though he is a centre-back, he says his idol growing up was Ronaldinho, and says he is keen to test himself against Lionel Messi one day.

The centre-back is clearly talented, and had the benefit of learning from Steve Bould last season. The fact he was singled out as captain will stand him in good stead, and it would make more sense for Arsenal to throw him in tomorrow against Olympiakos rather than give Squillaci a pointless appearance.

His partnership with fellow Swiss defender Martin Angha is promising in the youth teams, and tomorrow's fixture will be a great experience for the pair, whether they feature or not, simply to be part of a Champions League tie. If Johan Djourou is sold in January, the pair will compete to replace their compatriot and hope a new centre-back is not signed. If Monteiro or Angha perform tomorrow and pass the audition, it may just prove their readiness.

While Jack Wilshere is likely to be the future Arsenal captain for the next generation, if Monteiro steps up and proves himself, he clearly has the qualities to wear the armband.

One final worry though, he says the player he most wants to play alongside is Gerard Pique. Let's hope he doesn't jump ship to Barcelona in a few years...

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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