Seventeen-year old U.S. Men’s National Team prospect, Gedion Zelalem, has made Arsenal’s 20-man roster for Saturday’s friendly against the New York Red Bulls.
Zelalem will be part of a Gunners squad that includes Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere but is without fellow stars Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Serge Gnabry as well as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, who are recovering from injury.
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann has long coveted Zelalem and the 17-year old looks to be next in line to don the Stars & Stripes. Born in Germany to parents of Ethiopian descent, the Arsenal midfielder lived in Washington D.C. area from age 9 to 15. Zelalem’s father, Woldyes, is rumored to be trying to obtain US citizenship. If Woldyes manages to do so before his son turns 18,Gedion will automatically become a citizen through the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which “serves to facilitate the acquisition of US citizenship of the foreign-born children of US citizens – both biological and adopted – who did not acquire citizenship at birth.”
Zelalem made his first-team bow for Arsenal in a January FA Cup match against Coventry City and has been an unused substitute in three Premier League matches. He signed a first-team contract with the North London club this past March.
Arsenal and the Red Bulls are set to kick-off Saturday at 5pm ET in Red Bull Arena. Below is the Gunners match roster in full:
GOALKEEPERS: Damien Martinez, Wojciech Szczesny
DEFENDERS: Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs, Isaac Hayden, Carl Jenkinson, Ignasi Miquel, Nacho Monreal
MIDFIELDERS: Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Abou Diaby, Mathieu Flamini, Kristoffer Olsson, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Jon Toral, Jack Wilshire, Gedion Zelalem
FORWARD: Chuba Akpom