Teenage sensation Max Dowman invited to train with Arsenal first team | Football

Mikel Arteta has a fully fit first team squad ahead of today’s must-win game against Bournemouth (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta invited teenage sensation Max Dowman to train with the Arsenal first team ahead of Saturday’s must-win game against Bournemouth.

The Gunners have a fully fit squad to choose from as they seek to move four points clear at the top of the table and pile the pressure on Manchester City, who play Wolves in the late kick-off.

Despite the importance of the fixture, Arteta made a surprise decision with his preparations for the game by giving 14-year-old Dowman the chance to impress up against the club’s senior stars.

Who is Arsenal teenager Max Dowman?

Max Dowman has starred for Arsenal's Under-18s this season

Max Dowman has starred for Arsenal’s Under-18s this season (Picture: Getty)

Technically still an Under-14 player, Dowman is already well ahead of his peers and has broken into Arsenal’s Under-18s this season.

The gifted midfielder has already made five appearances at that level and registered five assists, as well as scoring once.

Dowman provided four of those assists in a single game against Fulham last month and drew significant praise from his coach and former Arsenal star Jack Wilshere.

‘There’s always a concern when fielding such a young player in these matches, but if you’re good enough, you’re old enough,’ he said.

‘He can be more consistent but he’s only 14 and hasn’t even started his GCSEs yet. We need to find a balance of letting him play and enjoy because of his age but also trying to get as much work into him as we can.’

Dowman is also firmly on England’s radar, having  already represented the Under-16s and impressed at the Football Federations Cup.

In the unlikely event he does feature against the Cherries, Dowman would become, by some distance, the youngest player in Premier League history, breaking the record held by his teammate Ethan Nwaneri, who made his debut agest 15 years and 181 days.

How will Arsenal line-up against Bournemouth?

Mikel Arteta is likely to field the same starting line-up for the third game in a row

Mikel Arteta is likely to field the same starting line-up for the third game in a row

Mikel Arteta has fielded the same team in successive matches, following the return to fitness and form of Thomas Partey.

The experienced Ghana international has added steel and style to Arsenal’s engine room in the wins over Chelsea and Spurs and is likely to keep his place, assuming his body can handle a third game in little over a week.

Elsewhere, Jurrien Timber could make the bench after he was left out of the Under-21 squad that beat Manchester United 6-2 last night.

‘We’re not going to know until we throw him in,’ said Arteta on whether Timber was ready to make an impact having missed nearly the whole seaosn following the knee injuryhe suffered on the opening day.

‘It’s tricky because it’s only three games to go and he’s missed eight months of football.

‘He’s played only 50 minutes of football with the under-21s, so it’s a question that has to be resolved only by throwing him on the pitch and seeing what happens. We have to try to nail that decision.’

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