Tate Russell to face Premier League giants Arsenal

Tate Russell has never sat on the bench for A-League trailblazers Western Sydney Wanderers in a competitive match, let alone played a minute.

Tate Russell.

Tate Russell.

The 17-year-old has undoubted ability, but has been happily waiting patiently for an opportunity. 

That will likely come this Saturday night on one of Australian sport’s biggest stages. And it could hardly come against a bigger, more storied opponent as well.

Russell, who is the son of Illawarra Steelers great Ian Russell, was named as part of a 21-man Wanderers squad that will face off against English Premier League giants Arsenal at ANZ Stadium. 

"It's unbelievable," the Gwynneville-based teenager said. "It's going to be great playing pretty against much all of them, especially as I've played a lot of FIFA, so started following most of them from there. 

"One of my favourite players is Hector Bellerin [who hasn’t made the trip to Australia], I jersey I have as well." 

Russell only found out he had been selected for the squad late on Friday afternoon after answering a phone call from his mother to receive the good news.

STAR POWER: Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette (right) celebrates with Alex Iwobi. Picture: AAP

STAR POWER: Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette (right) celebrates with Alex Iwobi. Picture: AAP

Now he could get the chance to play against some of world footballer’s finest, including Arsenal’s new $77 million signing Alexandre Lacazette. 

“It is pretty exciting,” Russell said.

"You are playing quality players wherever you are all over the pitch and having watched the Premier League, it’s awesome to be going up against them.”

Russell has spent the majority of 2017 playing for the Wanderers NSW NPL 2 team where he caught the eye of coaching staff.

He also took part in a warm-up match against the Olyroos during the week in preparation for their blockbuster encounter with the Gunners. 


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