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Brek Shea.. WHO?

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US star Brek Shea arrives 'for experience'

Wenger on US football
Arsenal boss on Brek Shea and improving standards

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By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has explained the agreement that has temporarily brought highly-promising midfielder Brek Shea to Arsenal.

The 21-year-old American is one of the most exciting talents in the MLS and, with his campaign at FC Dallas now over, the League were looking to place him with a leading European club in order to gain experience.

Arsenal were a natural choice.

Shea will train with "top prospects" at the Club, as well as the first-team. Wenger is keen to give the 6ft 3ins US international a run in the Reserves but he accepts that regulations may scupper that plan.

"It's a training period for him to see what his top level is like," Wenger told Arsenal Player. "The MLS encourage their players to go out to Europe during their off-season for improvement, practice and to have contact with top-level football. That's why Brek Shea is coming here. It is a learning experience for him.

"Brek will train with the first-team when it is possible and practice with the best prospects of the Club as well outside of the normal sessions. There is not a better place than the Premier League to do that."

Shea is one of the three players listed for the MLS Most Valuable Player award this season and Wenger is considering assessing his ability in the Reserve team during his spell in London.

"If it is possible I would like to do it," said Wenger. "We will have to see how it goes because we play many games now and we have to check how it works on the legal side too."


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A product of the Bradenton elite Residency program in Florida, Shea is a 21-year-old versatile midfielder, who benefited from a schooling at one of the countries best academy setups. Now, after a break-through season with Dallas, the race is on to secure his signature.

There have been plenty of American starlets over the years, many of whom were simply over-hyped or pushed too far and too soon, such is the desire for the US to produce the next football superstar. But with Shea, who has had opportunities to head to Europe before, there looks to be tangible end product.

At six foot three inches tall, he began his career in defence, playing all over the back four, before being enticed into increasingly attacking berths. The Texan-born youngster now finds himself as a left winger, and despite occasional moves forward and back, its a role that best displays his array of talents.

The most noticeable of which is Shea's intelligence and instinct in the final third. He has a natural ability of drifting across his defending full back and into space between centre backs when without the ball, then with it, he has some neat foot work, balance, poise and can shift weight easily between legs to get himself out of trouble.

Shea is very much a modern winger, with a knack of cutting inside and following up shots, meaning a healthy goal tally from midfield. Other traits such as high speed dribbling, changing direction at pace and shooting from short and long range he does well, but its the old fashioned wing work that he must improve.

A move to Europe looks imminent, where Shea needs to work on the defensive side to his play, shielding the ball better and tracking back, while also final delivery on crosses, which is a little patchy and inconsistent at present.

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