One to Watch #51: Kyle Bartley

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 16 June 2010

                                                           Bartley

Name: Kyle Bartley

Date of Birth: 22nd May 1991

Position: Centre Back

Club: Arsenal

Previous clubs: Bolton

International caps: England U16 3(0)

                                   England U17 8(0)

                                   England U19 4(0)

A tall, strong defender Bartley looks set for a bright future in the game but has indicated he won't hang around at Arsenal if he doesn't get an opportunity soon.

At six foot three he is an imposing figure and combines that strength with great composure, agility and express pace to form a defender with all the attributes needed to go all the way.

In the summer of 2007, and after eight years at Bolton, he refused a scholarship at The Reebok and Arsenal won the frantic race for his signature, beating off stiff competition from Manchester City. Before he could settle in he suffered a broken ankle and was ruled out for four months.

He finally made his debut in late 2007, playing as the U18 side beat Ipswich 3-2. Further injuries followed and hampered his progress during the season, yet he still forced his way into the reserve side when fit before signing a first professional contract in the summer of 2008.

2008/9 was a superb one for Bartley as he captained Arsenal to the FA Youth cup, scoring crucial headers in the quarter and semi finals, played every game of the reserves season and made the bench for the first team after playing in all but two of the first teams pre-season friendlies.

Last season was another full of achievement for Bartley as he skippered the reserves throughout the season, made his first team bow in a Champions League tie at Olympiakos and also sat on the bench for numerous other games, including the FA Cup tie at Stoke. Bartley joined Sheffield United in February 2010, on a three month loan, and played 14 times for the Blades before returning to the Emirates.

Bartley has stated how he thought long and hard over asking for a permanent transfer to Bramall Lane but decided to return to Arsenal and give himself another year to force his way into the first team but doesn't want to follow other Gunners youngsters in waiting too long to make it at Arsenal when he can be forging a career elsewhere.

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