Arsenal have released their 25-man squad squad for the Champions League and there was one surprise inclusion.

The Gunners return to Europe’s elite competition for the first time since 2016 following an impressive second-placed finish behind Manchester City in the 2022/23 campaign.

All 32 teams competing at the tournament must submit a squad of 25 players to UEFA, while a club can register an unlimited number of players on List B, so long as they are born on or after January 1, 2001.

Out of the 25 players selected, eight places are exclusively reserved for “locally trained players” or homegrown players. Out of those eight, not more than four can be “association-trained players” and the rest must be “club-trained”.

But Arsenal fans were surprised to see James Hillson make List A, having never heard his name before the announcement.

Supporters were quick to react to the squad confirmation on Twitter, with one exclaiming: “Who is James Hillson and why’s Karl Hein not in the 25 man squad for our UCL?”

“Who is James Hillson?” another supporter asked.

His inclusion would perhaps make more sense when considering he was born before January 1, 2001. Meanwhile, Arsenal have provided some further information on the player on the club’s website.

“A goalkeeper who always establishes a strong command of his area. James was on the bench for our first team for three Europa League games last season.

“James joined us in 2019 from Reading and regularly trains with the first-team goalkeepers. Now in his fifth season at the club, he is a vital part of the goalkeeping fraternity in the youth section.”

Admittedly, Hillson is unlikely to be given too much, if any game time, with Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya comfortably ahead of him in the pecking order.

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