Krystian Bielik begins his Arsenal career with U21 defeat

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January signing Krystian Bielik made his debut for Arsenal U21's on Tuesday night - but was powerless to stop the Gunners losing to Derby County at the iPro Stadium. 

Bielik played the full 90 minutes as Ivan Calero's second-half strike was enough to separate the two sides. 

The 17-year old, signed from Legia Warsaw for £2million, has been told by Arsene Wenger that he will not play for the first-team this season as he looks to integrate the youngster into the squad slowly. In order to do this, he will play throughout the different youth levels. 

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The Polish midfielder looked assured in possession and made crucial interceptions throughout the game for Steve Gatting's side. He even had a header cleared off the line in the latter stages of the match. 

The only goal of the game came 19 minutes from time when Tom Koblenz's corner fell to Calero who smashed the ball past 'keeper Deyan Iliev. 

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Defeat for Arsenal saw their East Midlands hosts leapfrog them in the U21 Premier League, although the north London side have three games in hand. 

Lee Glover's Derby team has lost only twice in all competitions since early October.

Great things are expected of Bielik. Insiders at Arsenal have been impressed with his attitude and work-rate in training and there have been comparisons with Gunners hero Patrick Vieira.

Wenger is aware of how expectations can damage the mental attitude of a player and by choosing to bed the Polish U17 star into the youth teams, it is hoped he will remain grounded until the time is right for a first-team call-up.

Bright future

The current Arsenal first-team squad has an abundance of midfield talent. In attacking areas, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez have been in exceptional form this season whilst Francis Coquelin has thrived since being called-up into a defensive role at the turn of the year. 

Mesut Ozil has started to put in shifts for Wenger's side, constantly covering the most ground in a game and players such as Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini are still to return from injury. Bielik may have to wait patiently for his opportunity with the big boys, but he may well be worth the wait. 

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