Gedion Zelalem during the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Arsenal are coming stateside to face the MLS All-Stars, and they’ve brought a pretty strong roster of their own for the occasion.
Arsenal’s preliminary squad for their preseason in the United States, which includes facing off against the MLS All-Stars in Thursday, is highlighted by the likes of goalkeeper Petr Cech, goalkeeper David Ospina, defender Per Mertesacker, midfielder Jack Wilshire and new signee midfielder Granit Xhaka, who joined the team just one day ago. Key players missing include Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud.
But the name that will catch the eyes of a lot of American fans, however, is Gedion Zelalem, the 19-year-old German-American who last year pledged allegiance to the U.S. for the future. He joined Arsenal in 2013 but as been on loan with Rangers since last year.
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The All-Star Game may be the first time that many fans stateside will get to see Zelalem in action, and they will be watching him go up against some of the U.S. men’s national team talent he’ll compete against for a spot on full national team. Zelalem has no caps with the senior national team, so if he plays, it could be interesting.
Arsenal will face an MLS All-Star side with a heavy contingent of international stars, like Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa, and a few USMNT stars like Clint Dempsey and Darlington Nagbe mixed in. Fans voted 11 players in and then All-Star coach Dom Kinnear and league commissioner Don Garber picked the rest.
After Arsenal face the MLS All-Stars on Thursday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, coach Aresene Wenger and his men will continue their preseason against Chivas Guadalajara two days later at the StubHub Center outside Los Angeles.
Arsenal preliminary preseason roster:
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Emiliano Martinez (Argentina), David Ospina (Colombia)
Defenders: Hector Bellerin (Spain), Krystian Bielik (Poland), Kieran Gibbs (England), Rob Holding (England), Calum Chambers (England), Mathieu Debuchy (France), Gabriel (Brazil), Per Mertesacker (Germany), Nacho Monreal (Spain)
Midfielders: Chris Willock (England), Jack Wilshere (England), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Gedion Zelalem (USA), Santi Cazorla (Spain), Francis Coquelin (France), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Alex Oxlade-chamberlain (England), Jeff Reine-adelaide (France)
Forwards: Theo Walcott (England), Chuba Akpom (England), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)