Omari Hutchinson has told Goal that Alexandre Lacazette offered him lots of help while training with the Arsenal first-team, and noted how Bukayo Saka has inspired confidence.
The 17-year-old is making a name for himself in the Gunners’ academy while rising through the north London ranks. He is considered one of Arsenal’s most highly-rated prospects and has dazzled with his skills from a young age.
But while developing in Hale End, Hutchinson notes the likes of Saka, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson were the superstars. With Saka, who only turned 20 on Sunday, instilling confidence in the Gunners’ rising stars as he plotted his own path to the Emirates Stadium.
“When we were at Hale End as U12s, we would see Joe, Reiss and that lot and we would think they were superstars,” Hutchinson said. “Growing up, we wanted to be like them. Saka used to tell us to work hard and that we were not far behind, and that used to give us confidence.”
Hutchinson spent time with the Arsenal first-team over the summer, with Mikel Arteta also awarding him 15 minutes against Hibernian. The Hale Ender used the opportunity to train with the Gunners’ senior stars and learn as much as possible.
“Lacazette gave me lots of help as well,” Hutchinson added. “Telling me not to be nervous, and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang is such a funny guy to be around. When we practised free-kicks, it was just like being with my mates. They were doing them, and I was watching, then I was like, ‘let me hop in’. I was putting it top bins, bottom left. It was great.”
Hutchinson enjoys sublime start to U23s campaign at Arsenal
Hutchinson has displayed his potential under Arsenal’s new U23s boss Kevin Betsy during the Gunners’ PL2 fixtures this season. The teenage maestro has netted twice and assisted twice in three appearances, starting each game thus far this term.
Hutchinson only made his U23s debut in April when Steve Bould awarded him 23 minutes against Leicester’s academy. His breakthrough was a well-deserved reward for a sublime U18s campaign with nine goals and nine assists in 23 appearances.
It marked a debut U18s campaign to remember, now Arsenal and Hutchinson will hope it continues in their U23s. Extracting everything he learned from Aubameyang, Lacazette, Saka and co this summer, like he seemingly already has under Betsy.