An Arsenal view on loan signing Daniel Boateng

This article was originally published on 30th August 2011 when Jeorge Bird from Arsenal Youth provided the lowdown on our then hopeful loan signing Daniel Boateng. Today (20th Jan 2012) Boateng has joined on loan until the end of the season, here is another look at Jeorge’s comments.

When Daniel Boateng was emerging through the ranks at Arsenal’s Hale End Academy, he was always noted as possessing immense physical strength which, particularly at that level, ensured that he was a difficult opponent for many attackers.

Now a fully-fledged member of Neil Banfield’s Reserve side, his development in the ensuing period has been a profound one, with the defender, who will turn 19 early next month, possessing a significantly improved reading of the game in comparison to his schoolboy days.

Boateng’s strength remains his key attribute and, against Manchester United Reserves recently, he used it to excellent effect, dealing well with the considerable threat of United striker Mame Biram Diouf.

Respected amongst his team-mates, Boateng’s leadership qualities are also in abundance, as testified by the fact that he was named Reserve captain on several occasions last season in the absence of regular skipper Ignasi Miquel. The armband has now passed to classy Dutch midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup, but only because of Boateng’s impending loan move to Swindon Town.

What Swindon will get is a defender, nominally a centre-back, but also capable of playing at right-back, who allies his strength with efficient speed, and a player who is capable of bringing the ball out from the back and instigating attacking moves in a manner reminiscent of Kolo Toure in his early days at Highbury.

There is, though, as with all young players, a downside. Boateng is the kind of player who can turn in an excellent performance for the majority of the game, but then commit a fatal mistake or error of judgement that costs his side dear. He has worked hard to rectify this in recent months, but the problem still persists and the Arsenal coaching staff are hopeful that competitive football in League Two will help him to understand that he has to maintain concentration for the entire 90 minutes.

Boateng’s positioning cannot be described as perfect either, but this loan spell, if successful, could see him progress from a raw talent into a more rounded individual. It is currently unclear exactly how he will be deployed under Paolo Di Canio, but should he feature regularly, it would be of immense benefit to Arsenal, Swindon and, of course, Boateng himself.

Boateng became a consistent presence in the Arsenal Reserve side last campaign, starting each of the last 12 games of the season, and both so far thus. He was also a key part of the side which retained the Premier Academy League title in 2010, forming a largely formidable presence alongside recent first-team graduate Miquel.

A keen learner, Boateng is ready for the next stage of his development and Swindon is an excellent place for him to learn and develop. Fans would be advised to be patient initially, and accept that all young players make mistakes, but once he grows in confidence and consistency, he could prove to be something of a useful asset for the League Two outfit.

Follow @jeorgebird on Twitter

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