Brian Stapleton has told Goal that Arsenal have a ‘special talent’ in young gun Kido Taylor-Hart, and that the winger he scouted will soon ‘remind everyone’ of his exciting potential.
The former Gunners talent spotter feels Taylor-Hart has fallen off some radars this season after suffering a disjointed campaign. He started the term strongly with a brace in a come from behind 2-1 win over Tottenham in August. But they remain his only hits in 11 games.
Taylor-Hart has struggled since the junior north London derby as Arsenal Under-23s boss Kevin Betsy started tweaking his formation. It cost the 19-year-old his starting role on the wing, before he then sustained a groin injury in December from which he is yet to return.
Goal note staff at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground could not get enough of Taylor-Hart before the season started. He also penned a first professional contract to end talk of a move away amid strong rival interest. But his setbacks have seen his stock take a dip since.
There are still plenty behind the scenes at Arsenal that admire Taylor-Hart, who fired nine goals in 29 U18 games. He also struck home four in 13 Premier League 2 appearances last season – fuelling expectations that the 2021/22 campaign could be his breakthrough year.
Mikel Arteta is yet to include Taylor-Hart in any Arsenal first-team squad for a competitive game, even on the bench. But former Gunners scout Stapleton – who discovered the left-winger aged seven at local side Focus Football – still believes he has a bright future ahead.
“Kido’s a special talent,” Stapleton said. “You might not see him much in a game, but then he’ll come out and do something very special. That game against Tottenham earlier in the season was the perfect example.
“He wasn’t outstanding. But then he pulled something out of the bag and won the game with two goals. That’s what good players do.”
Stapleton added: “People have forgotten about Kido a little bit while he’s been out. But he’s a great kid and he’ll soon remind everyone what he’s about.
“It’s been a tough few months for him, but he’s very grounded and I know he’ll work hard to get back to where he was. Hopefully, he can push on now and I do believe he will.”
Taylor-Hart’s injury blow has been a big setback for his development at Arsenal. The north Londoners also hoped to send him out on loan in January, per football.london, as academy manager Per Mertesacker sought to expose the teenager to first-team football this season.