One to watch – Arsenal’s Thomas Cruise

Over the years Arsenal have produced some wonderful talent in the left-back position, and it appears that the Gunners have unearthed yet another gem in the form of 19-year-old Thomas Cruise.

Cruise joined Arsenal on July 31st 2007 at the age of 16 where he has since developed and honed his skills at under-18 level at the club. In the same year, the left-back earned a call up to the England under-17 team and participated in the first rounds of qualifying for the 2008 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship. However, due to injury Cruise was replaced for the latter stages of the tournament.

Working his way through the Arsenal Academy, the full-back helped the young guns lift the FA Youth Cup in the 2008/09 season, and has since advanced to the reserve squad following the promotion of Kieran Gibbs to the first-team squad.

The left-back has managed to appear once at senior level which occurred last season, where he played the full 90 minutes against Olympiacos following Arsenal’s qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Cruise has had a prolonged spell at reserve level football up until now, and will no doubt be keen to push for a place in Wenger’s Carling Cup side this season to gain further experience in the senior squad.

The young full-back is noted for his great work-rate, strength, speed as well as precise distribution. The 19-year-old has all the attributes of a modern day full-back. Cruise can also play in the centre of the defence, but is more effective in his traditional role where he can utilize his pace and strength going forward.

The Arsenal youngster is currently in France taking part in the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship with England. Thomas Cruise managed to bag a goal in England’s opening game of the tournament against Austria and having watched the tournament so far, the left-back seems to be in fine form for his country.

As stated earlier, the Gunners have always had great left-backs. Kenny Sansom, Nigel Winterburn and Ashley Cole are to name just three iconic full-backs for the club. Current Arsenal left-back, Gael Clichy has made his name in the same role and is highly regarded around the world these days as one of the best in the position. Arsenal also have a young English starlet in Kieran Gibbs who has emerged as a protégé to Clichy in the near future (some fans may even say the present).

Soon enough Thomas Cruise will almost certainly get his chance as well, especially if he keeps his head down, works hard and continues his development in the right way as he is doing. No need to invest in a left-back anytime soon Wenger…we have a star rising by the name of Thomas Cruise.

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