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‘The future’, ‘hopefully he starts’: Some Arsenal fans react as Hale End gem pictured in first-team training

Arsenal academy goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo was pictured in training with the Gunners first team on Tuesday, prompting complimentary messages from fans and even talk of the 19-year-old replacing Alex Runarsson as second choice.

Okonkwo has come through the ranks at Hale End after joining the Gunners setup aged seven and penned his first professional contract with the North London club in September 2018 along with Bukayo Saka.

Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League 2
(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

A health issue ruled him out of the whole of last season, while earlier this term a reported disciplinary issue saw him miss out on several Premier League 2 and EFL Trophy games, as reported by Jeorge Bird.

However, Okonkwo is now back in contention for Steve Bould’s side, playing the full 90 minutes against the Under-23s of Derby and Leicester at the tail end of last year.

And with Arsenal in FA Cup third-round action against Newcastle on Saturday, the Hale End stopper was pictured being put through his paces in first-team training.

Here is what some Gunners fans made of the image, and of Okonkwo’s potential inclusion in the matchday squad this weekend:

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