Ipswich Town coach Stuart Taylor has hailed Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith after he helped the Gunners’ U21 side beat their League One opposition in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night, while speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times.
Some of the brightest talents in British football have emerged through Arsenal’s feted academy system in recent years.
While £8 million-rated Folarin Bolagun was the hero of the hour, netting a clinical winner in the 2-1 triumph, the man at the other end of the park also caught the eye.
18-year-old Smith failed to keep out Jon Nolan’s opener at Portman Road but, after Arsenal’s youngsters turned the game around, he made a number of key interventions to keep the Tractor Boys off the scoresheet.
“Credit to their goalkeeper who played very, very well, and their defenders who threw their bodies in the way and made a lot of good blocks,” said Taylor, whose Ipswich side mustered 17 shots on goal but scored just once.
“There were opportunities. Towards the end you were thinking ‘it’s got to go over the line this time’. There was a lot of good stuff though and we’re happy with it.”
Smith was one of the star figures in an Arsenal team who won the U18 league title in 2019 and, after being handed his professional contract in December, the England youth call-up will be looking to secure his place in the U23 side in the months ahead.
Interestingly, Smith is represented by the same Base Sport group who also count Dele Alli, James Maddison and Kyle Walker as clients.
Arsenal’s opening fixtures of 2020/21
West Ham (H)
Sheffield United (H)
Manchester City (A)