Our young midfielder Tom Carroll looks set to step out at the Emirates Stadium tonight for Leyton Orient’s big FA Cup Fifth Round replay with Arsenal.
The 18-year-old made his full debut for the O’s in their 2-2 draw at Huddersfield in League One on Saturday having joined them on loan until the end of the season.
It came after an impressive substitute performance in the original Cup tie with Arsenal at Brisbane Road nine days ago, when he played a part in the famous 1-1 draw, setting up Jonathan Tehoue’s late equaliser.
Now Tom has the chance to impress on the big stage with a Quarter-Final clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford the prize that awaits.
The Watford-born youngster said: “It’s going to be a great day out for the lads – and they deserve it. To play in one of the best stadiums in Europe, against one of the biggest teams, is amazing.
“The first game was a great experience. When I came on I thought I did well, and that’s all I could do. I’ll take an assist for the goal! It was great celebrating and the fans loved it.
“But Arsenal kept the ball for fun at times and we had to work hard as a team. When we got the ball we had to try and keep it for as long as possible, otherwise we’d just be chasing the game.”
Tom really pushed on during the second year of his Academy scholarship last season, with 10 goals in 23 appearances for the Under-18s, and went on to earn his first professional contract with us last summer.
Further impressive performances both in the Under-18s and the Development Squad during the current campaign convinced Technical Co-ordinator, Tim Sherwood, and the Academy coaching staff that he was ready for league football.
Under-18 coach, Alex Inglethorpe, said: “I thought Tom changed the game when he came on in the second half of the original tie. He got on the ball as much as he could and I thought he gave Arsenal something to think about.
“I think he’s an outstanding talent and it's fantastic that he has the stage to go out and prove it. Now he has a real possibility of playing 90 minutes against Arsenal at the Emirates and that will be a great experience for him.”
Another Spurs loanee at Orient, Paul-Jose M’Poku, will also be looking to play his against Arsenal tonight, while a third, Harry Kane, is suspended for the tie having been sent off at Huddersfield.