Arsenal loanee Trae Coyle made a big impact against his parent club on Tuesday night, scoring against the Gunners Under-21s in the EFL Trophy.
The 19-year-old attacker, who came through the ranks at Hale End, made the temporary switch to League One side Gillingham in August, joining the Kent side for the 2020-21 season.
Prior to last night’s Southern Group B game at Priestfield, Coyle had made 13 appearances for the Gills, scoring twice.
The teenager, described by the Arsenal website as a pacy and powerful forward who can play anywhere in the front three, was a starter for Steve Evans’ charges against his parent club’s youth side.
Arsenal’s U21s led as early as the sixth minute through Catalin Cirjan, but Coyle equalised on 56 minutes with a clinical first-time shot from Alex MacDonald’s weighted cross.
Coyle found the back of the net again as the game went to penalties, but he was one of just two Gillingham players who successfully converted.
Arsenal’s players struck four from four to emerge triumphant and go four points clear at the top of their group.
Despite the loss, Gills assistant manager Paul Raynor was delighed with Coyle’s impact, as well as that of Arsenal academy teammate Zech Medley, also on loan at the club.
“We are delighted with both of them, they are obviously good young players and Arsenal have many of them,” he told the official website after the game.
“They are here to learn and be coached; they have been coached very well at Arsenal but are also learning the other side of the game in League 1 where it’s a bit more feisty, they need to be a bit more aggressive as points are at stake, that’s the difference.
“They are great lads, they learn, listen, take everything on the chin and had some disappointments when they’ve not been in the team, but they have responded really well and I thought both did well.
“Trae made a big difference on Saturday, he’s got his goal and every time he got the ball he looked a threat.
“He’s had a bit of a stop start beginning to his Gillingham career; he came in, scored a goal at Wigan and was a little bit unfortunate to go out [of the team]… I thought he grasped it tonight, and on Saturday, and he’s looked a real threat.”
Coyle is yet to make a senior appearance for Arsenal but was impressive for the Under-18s and has stepped up well to Under-23 level.
At just 19, he has plenty of time ahead of him to win Mikel Arteta over, and finding the back of the net twice against the Gunners will certainly have been food for thought for the North London club’s coaches.