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Teen phenom Zelalem is on the team sheet for Arsenal’s FA Cup match versus Coventry City

Jan 24, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

Arsenal v Galatasaray - Emirates Cup Getty Images

The team sheets for today’s FA Cup fourth round match between Arsenal and Coventry City are in, and 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem is inching close to his senior bow with a spot on the Gunners bench.

Zelalem is the teenage sensation of Ethiopian-German blood who lived on American soil for seven years and is being courted by USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Arsenal will start: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Gnabry, Podolski, Bendtner.

The bench: Viviano, Sagna, Monreal, Zelalem, Flamini, Cazorla, Giroud.

Another teenager with American ties, Julian Green, made headlines when he made his senior debut for Bayern Munich late in 2013. Green only got into the match for five minutes, but it was a big moment for the German-American (who was featured in a nice piece by SI’s James Young yesterday). Green scored in a friendly win over Al-Merrikh in Doha earlier this month.

We’ll see if Zelalem sees similar token time, a decent run this afternoon at the Emirates, or if he has to wait longer to make his senior debut. He’s expected to sign his first senior contract when he turns 17 this weekend.

  1. krimsonyx - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Ha, this seems like a smart move by Arsenal. They put him on the bench right before they want him to sign his contract so he’ll be persuaded to stay there.

  2. jrocknstuff - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    71st minute sub. Not bad

  3. jrocknstuff - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    He started slow but I thought he got into the game nicely. He did well to start the 4th goal and had a couple decent spells of possession. All in all a fairly promising 20 minutes, albeit against League One opposition.

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