BACK in March, former Hale End academy product Jack Wilshere was coy about who the future of Arsenal could be.
He name-dropped Charlie Patino, who Gunners fans will be very aware of after he scored on his debut against Sunderland in the EFL Cup earlier in the campaign.
But the former darling of the Emirates was adamant another top talent should get a mention.
"I don’t want to tell you about a player who I think is really good then put pressure on him and it doesn’t work out,” Wilshere told the Evening Standard.
"But there’s a few in the academy. The fans will watch the under-23’s and know about Charlie Patino, who got his chance.
"But then there are other players out there, there’s a boy called Salah who is really good coming through. There’s a lot of players in that group who are technically very, very good."
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The Salah Wilshere referred to wasn't the one that's made his name at Anfield.
He was talking about the brilliant box-to-box midfielder Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, who has been lighting up Arsenal's U23 side this season and is beginning to show the promise needed to follow the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka into the first team.
Shaking off injury
The Dutch youth international, 18, moved to North London in 2020, after he was released by Feyenoord
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But his first year at the club was blighted by injury.
A fracture near his ankle ruled him out from September 2020, all the way through to late August 2021.
When he returned to the fold, there were doubts whether he would be at the same level. Arguably, though, he's been better.
Salah has played 21 games in all competitions, including the Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy, and scored six times.
There have been some memorable goals too.
The teenager scored an absolute screamer against Man City, assisted a goal against Man Utd, and forced a Chelsea player into an own goal. Salah has made up for lost time.
A post shared by Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand (@salah.oulad)
First team introduction
It's common practice now at London Colney to see Arsenal's stars of tomorrow training with the first team and Mikel Arteta, a manager who is keen to promote from within.
Salah has been mixing it up with the current stars and has impressed the Spaniard.
Back in November, to encourage and reward the kid, Arteta included him in the squad for a last-16 EFL Cup clash with Leeds Utd.
Although he didn't get a game, the boss explained his reasons for naming him in the 20.
Arsenal were "rewarding him – for what he does every day in training and the games that he’s playing, for his attitude and the quality he has – he totally deserves to be with us".
In the years to come, that steely determination, hard-working nature, and ability might be enough to see him prosper in the first team as a regular starter.
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