A FORMER coach of new Arsenal signing Tim Akinola has revealed his shock at the midfielder’s move to the Premier League giants.
The 19-year-old youngster signed for the North London club after he was released by Huddersfield Town, where he failed to break into their first team.
Last season former Lincoln player Akinola enjoyed a loan spell with Brighouse Town FC, who play in the eighth tier of English football.
There he impressed manager Vill Powell, a former strike partner of Jamie Vardy at non-league level, with his combative nature and ability.
But the ex-Stockbridge Park Steels F.C. striker admitted Akinola signing for the FA Cup winners seemed improbable at the time.
“It does come as a surprise,” Powell, 40, told SunSport.
“I’ve got to admit a move to Arsenal from Huddersfield certainly wasn’t expected from what I saw with his time with us.
“He joined us on loan when we had a few injuries. He was a quiet lad, but a really combative midfielder.
“He was box-to-to-box, won the ball back well and he had a positive impact while he was with us.
“Physically his frame isn’t imposing or big, but what he does do really well is he covers a lot of ground and gets the ball back quickly.
“I can see why a Premier League club might’ve picked Tim up, but it’s come as a surprise at our football club.”
And Powell is tipping Akinola to break into the Arsenal first team next season, while improving by playing with better players.
“The way I see the deal, I’m looking at Tim getting some sort of first team football next season,” he said.
“They’re going to have a lot of games in Europe, some in a short period of time.
“I can certainly see where he would get an opportunity at Arsenal, with some of the attributes he showed at us. From a defensive point of view he’s excellent in the tackle.
“And given his age and the length of the deal, it tells me that he will get an opportunity to play at some point.
“I also feel that he is the sort of player that will raise his game being around better players.”