Bolton Wanderers U21s took on their Blackburn Rovers counterparts in a league match at the Reebok Stadium on Monday evening. The lineup that the Trotters put out Jamie Fullerton was one that had become fairly standard in the early stages of this season.
Jay Lynch started in net with Hayden White, Andy Kellett, Oscar Threlkeld, and Cian Bolger in front of him. James Kelly, Chris Lester, and Jan Gregus took up the midfield while a front three of Conor Wilkinson, Zach Clough, and Tom Youngs were employed to score goals. The bench was manned by Harry Campbell, Robert Holding, Aaron Knight, Glenn Matthews, and one "Ariyibi," as listed by Bolton Wanderers. That last name was a new one.
Ariyibi is better known as Gregory "Gboly" Ariyibi, an American born in 1995, from West Virginia, who joined Southampton's famed academy in 2005 at just ten years old. The winger, now 18, had graduated from the Southampton academy at the conclusion of last season and has since been looking for a new a club.
In an August interview with O When The Yanks, a website dedicated tracking young, American talent, Ariyibi discussed his intentions:
"I've had trials at a few clubs, and should be all sorted in the next three weeks or so. I am looking to secure a professional contract here in England. A few Championship/League One clubs, and possibly Cardiff, want to see me. I would like to be in the Championship. Brentford, Oxford United, Oxford City, Birmingham City and Bournemouth have expressed the most interest in me as of late."
"I am confident that I am good enough to represent the US Under-20 national squad. I just haven't been given the chance yet, but I would love to show the federation what I can do."
Ariyibi had been a regular in Southampton's U18 setup, featuring often against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Bolton's U18s, among others. Per the OWTY article, Ariyibi had been called up to Southampton's U21s on six occasions, making three appearances in the process.