They’ve formed one of the closest friendships in our first-team squad, but Kieran Gibbs and Danny Welbeck didn’t always get on so well.

The pair regularly faced each other at youth level, and lined up on opposite flanks in the 2007 FA Youth Cup semi-final.

“It doesn’t feel like 10 years at all,” Welbeck told Arsenal Player. “I was speaking to Gibbo and Ox about it not long ago at all, talking about Gibbo being a flying left winger. I hated coming up against him. It was mad.

“I knew everything about their team, they knew everything about us. I was only 15, Gibbo was 16 I think. It was a mad time.

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“Then, me and Gibbo disliked each other. Playing against him I thought ‘I don’t like this guy’. But now we’re proper close, we’re good friends so it’s crazy how things change.

“I was playing right wing and Gibbo was playing left wing. I remember the goal at the Emirates, where Gibbo scored, came down my side. I thought ‘that can’t happen’.

“After the game, we had analysis with Paul McGuinness, the youth team manager. You’d go through everything and think ‘that’s not happening again’.

“In the next leg we put it right and it was just a great feeling. I scored the winner and sent Gibbo back home! I put us through to the final, it was nice.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
Nik Brumsack 14 Mar 2017