Arsenal have included 18-year-old defender Lino Sousa in their squad for the Champions League group stages.
The England Under 19 international has been named in the A list along with the following players:
Aaron Ramsdale, David Raya, James Hillson, Cedric, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ben White, Gabriel, Jakub Kiwior, William Saliba, Mohamed Elneny, Jorginho, Thomas Partey, Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz, Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith Rowe, Leandro Trossard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus.
Fans on X are surprised by Sousa’s inclusion but there are a couple of theories as to why he has been selected:
We’ve got another gem 💎 of a left back in our hands. ❤️
— Owurah Jr 🇬🇭🇬🇭😍😍 (@OwurahJ) September 11, 2023
Very interesting indeed.
— ArsenalVisionary⚪🔴 (@Goallinechatter) September 11, 2023
It’s because we have to wait until January to put him on B list
— ابو (@MAA_Gunner) September 11, 2023
He will definitely get minutes if we win the first 4 games
— Jeffery (@Jeffery_Lamarr) September 12, 2023
— AFC RAY (@AFC_Rayyy) September 11, 2023
We knew we needed a fullback but we let KT go. It’s embarrassing
— Mureithi_karani⚪ (@mureithi_karani) September 12, 2023
I was surprised by that, but it’s all for squad depth..the young lad would be very happy
— That Reply Guy 💕 (@DeObidientpikin) September 11, 2023
Sousa only joined Arsenal at the start of 2022
The fact that Sousa hasn’t been with the Gunners for two years means he doesn’t qualify for the B list, which allows players born after 1st January 2002 to play in the Champions League without needing to be registered as past of the A list.
Sousa will be eligible in the New Year, though, freeing up space for another player. Jurrien Timber didn’t make the squad after he sustained an ACL injury but the Dutchman could still be registered for the knockout phase if Arsenal make it that far.
He could provide cover at left-back
With Kieran Tierney having been loaned out to Real Sociedad, it does make sense to have another player who can play on the left-hand side of defence. Sousa has played games as a centre-back and a wingback but he has been exclusively deployed as a fullback so far this campaign.
He faced Swindon’s senior side in the EFL Trophy for Arsenal Under 21’s last month, scoring in a game which the Gunners went on to win in a penalty shootout.