'Been working’: Arsenal defender says he's been really trying to get better at passing recently
In an interview with Scouted Football, he talked about what areas of improvement he’s working on, and who he looks up to in his position. “I would probably say my range of passing.
“I’ve also been working on my final ball and decision making, which is more about whether to whip it across goal, cut it back, stand it up to the back post – I know I can do it – but it’s about being able to execute with consistency.”
Although Norton-Cuffy names Alexander-Arnold and James as role models for improving those aspects of his game, he also has an example of how to refine these skills closer to home.
Norton-Cuffy already has role models in the Arsenal squad
Another homegrown talent at Arsenal, Bukayo Saka, broke into the first team at full-back and impressed with his ability going forward.
In the interview, Norton-Cuffy talks about how he arrived at Arsenal from Chelsea as a striker, and so shadowing Saka, who has had to make a similar transition from attacker to defender at times, will help him realise his first-team ambitions.
If Norton-Cuffy looks outside of his position for inspiration for working on his passing, Martin Odegaard is the obvious option at Arsenal.
The 18-year-old also needs to make sure he’s developing skills that will be most useful in the systems he plays in.
Norton-Cuffy’s passing is important, but not key to Arsenal breakthrough
Although the long, diagonal pass is a great skill to have, it’s not a tactic Mikel Arteta tends to use very often.
In contrast, William Saliba and Gabriel, Arsenal’s central defenders, were the only outfield players to attempt more than 10, and so although Norton-Cuffy should continue to work on these aspects of his game, it’s not essential to break into Arteta’s first team plans.
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