Chuks Aneke will be hoping his first Arsenal appearance was the first of many.
The promising midfielder was handed his first-team debut by Arsène Wenger in the Carling Cup victory over Shrewsbury in September, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a late substitute.
It was just rewards for another impressive season in Neil Banfield's second string, in which Chuks scored six times in just 10 appearances from midfield. Built in the mould of Yaya Toure, finding the target comes naturally to the England youth international.
Chuks took another step in the right direction this season with two loan moves to League One. He spent four months at Stevenage from November before linking up with Preston North End at the tail end of the campaign. It proved a debut to remember at Deepdale with a goal against Bury - his first league strike.
Next season Chuks will be hoping for more of the same, with another crack at Arsenal's first team high on the agenda.
“I’m really pleased to have gone out on loan. It was good to see another side of football that I didn't really know. The game became a lot more serious, and I learned to be more professional in the way I prepare for matches. In the lower leagues they do things differently - that is not to say it is worse - and it is good to learn and try to improve your game. I can draw on the things I learned there to make me a better player."
Although brief, Chuks' full Arsenal debut against Shrewsbury Town was a significant moment for the young midfielder.
|Premier Reserve League||10||6|
|League One (Stevenage)||2+4||-|
|League One (Preston)||3+4||1|