Julio Pleguezuelo makes his Arsenal debut against Blackpool in Carabao Cup… so who is the talented Spaniard?
- Julio Pleguezuelo has been named in Arsenal’s starting XI against Blackpool
- The Spanish youngster partners Shkodran Mustafi in the heart of defence
- The talented 21-year-old joined the Gunners back in 2013 from Barcelona
Arsenal’s Carabao Cup fourth round clash with Blackpool represents a significant chapter in the career of one of Unai Emery’s young guns.
Emery has surprisingly handed Julio Pleguezuelo his senior Arsenal debut and he partners Shokdran Mustafi in the heart of the defence at the Emirates.
The talented Spaniard will be hoping to make his mark in front of the Arsenal faithful… but just who is the youngster?
Julio Pleguezuelo has been handed his Arsenal debut against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup
Pleguezuelo made the daunting move to North London back in July 2013 from Spanish and European giants Barcelona, at just the tender age of 16.
Since then the 21-year-old – who started out his football days at Majorca-based CD Atletico Baleares – has spent six years with the Gunners, making him an experienced member of the youth set-up.
In April 2014, the Spanish centre back signed his first professional contract at Arsenal after becoming a key member of the club’s Under-18 squad.
And early on in his career at Arsenal, Pleguezuelo’s leadership skills were clear to see as he became a mainstay in the youth teams.
He established himself as captain of the Under-21 side during the 2015-16 campaign and then guided Arsenal to victory in the U21 Premier League 2 play-off final in 2016.
The young Spanish centre back will be hoping his Arsenal career can kick on from now
After that season ended, Pleguezuelo made his opening loan move from Arsenal to gain valuable first team experience.
He joined Real Mallorca on loan in 2016 and made his professional debut in a narrow 1–0 Copa del Rey home victoru against Reus Deportiu.
But his loan spell ended in disappointment as his side were relegated from the Segunda Division in 2017.
And in January 2018, he then moved to Gimnastic in the Spanish second tier again, where he enjoyed a more successful loan spell.
The youngster played the full 90 minutes in each of his 10 appearances for the Spanish outfit, helping them record five clean sheets and five victories in that time.
Pleguezuelo trained with the Arsenal first-team ahead of the home clash against Blackpool
However, he is now back at Arsenal and looking to lay down a marker under the leadership of new manager Emery.
Pleguezuelo, who was at Espanyol and Barcelona before joining the famed La Masia academy, is a composed-ball playing central defender.
With a tough game against Liverpool on the horizon in the Premier League, Emery has handed Pleguezuelo his dream start on Wednesday night at the Emirates.
He will be hoping to make his mark but knows his task for a successful future at the Emirates will be tough.
The centre back is currently fifth in the pecking order, behind the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny, Mustafi, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers in the pecking order.
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