Brooke Norton-Cuffy was named Arsenal’s scholar of the year this week and it’s safe to say that the award was fully merited.
While many of his fellow members of the 2020 intake were playing for the U23s or the U18s, Norton-Cuffy was gaining experience of senior football at Lincoln.
The right-back received rave reviews for his performances in League One, and there is now much excitement regarding what the future could hold for him at Arsenal.
In the immediate term, the 18-year-old will return to London Colney for pre-season training, where he will look to impress Mikel Arteta.
A decision has yet to be made as to what will happen with Norton-Cuffy next season, and it is likely that pre-season will be key in that regard. Staying at Arsenal and potentially featuring in the Europa League would be useful for his development, but perhaps a whole season out on loan may be of greater benefit.
Whatever transpires, Norton-Cuffy has now put himself in a position where instead of simply playing U23s football next season he will be pushing for first-team involvement in some capacity, whether at Arsenal or out on loan.
Norton-Cuffy is an impressive reader of the game and will hope that in the long-term he can challenge Takehiro Tomiyasu to be Arsenal’s first-choice right-back.
For now, the club face a difficult decision over what the next step should be in his development.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird