Mikel Arteta has defended his decision not to bring youngsters like Charlie Patino and Marcelo Flores to Arsenal pre-season tour and said he needs to find the right “balance” in the squad.
The Gunners flew to Baltimore on Thursday and meet Premier League rivals Everton in the first of three friendlies in the United States on Saturday night, followed by games against Orlando City and Chelsea.
But Arteta has raised some eyebrows with his squad for the trip, bringing with him a host of players who were on loan last season and five goalkeepers.
Aaron Ramsdale, Matt Turner, Arthur Okonkwo, Alex Runarsson and Bernd Leno – who is the subject of a bid from Fulham – have all made the cut but a number of youngsters have been left out.
Arteta has now explained his reasoning, saying he has tried to balance the commitment of the club’s academy players throughout pre-season – and not just on that one trip.
Asked if it was difficult to leave out the likes of Patino and Flores, the Arsenal boss replied: “It was, but it was impossible [to bring them].
“So we have Reuell [Walters] Here we have Flo [Folarin Balogun] also and we tried to equalize. But we also had a lot of young players in Germany. So I think we have the right balance.”
Patino came off the bench in Arsenal’s 5-3 win over Nuremberg in Germany earlier this month, while Salah Oulad M’Hand and new signing Marquinhos were also involved – although Flores stayed behind in Britain.
There is evidence of the Mexican attacker is unhappy with his lack of first-team involvement to date in preseason as he was expecting to go on the US tour after Arsenal blocked him from linking with his country’s under-20 side.
The addition of the likes of Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari and Reiss Nelson also came as a surprise as they were all on loan last season and linked to permanent departures this summer.
But Arteta has opened the door for players returning to Arsenal’s first-team squad next season and will give them a chance to impress in the United States.
He continued: “The message is this is a different season and everyone gets a clean start.
“Show us what you can do on the pitch, how you will behave towards your teammates, will you make the car faster: yes or no? If you do that, you have a chance to be here.’
On the possibility of making more signings, Arteta added: “We still hope to improve the team and make a few more changes. But again, the market will dictate our capacity to do so.’
MORE: Arsenal agree £30m deal to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City
MORE: Arsenal star Marcelo Flores angered at being left out of pre-season tour squad
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/16/arsenal-mikel-arteta-explains-marcelo-flores-and-charlie-patino-absence-17012193/ Arsenal: Mikel Arteta explains absence of Marcelo Flores and Charlie Patino | Soccer