By Rob Kelly
Benik Afobe admits he has been looking to Robin van Persie for inspiration as he continues his comeback from a long-term groin injury.
The 19-year-old striker scored on his return to action after six months out during the reserves’ 5-0 victory at Norwich on Tuesday night.
It has been a long road back for Afobe but he says Arsenal’s captain - who struggled with injury before going on to become one of the world’s best strikers - has helped spur him on.
“I speak to Robin van Persie quite a lot and he always comes into the gym and asks me about my rehab,” Afobe told Arsenal Player.
“He was injured quite a lot when he was younger at Arsenal, so he just tells me to keep motivated, to carry on doing what I am doing in my gym sessions and rehab and to prove a point.
“He is a fantastic striker and a fantastic person as well. He always has time for the younger lads and he has helped me quite a lot - I always listen to what he says to me.”
Afobe sustained his groin injury in the Emirates Cup match against New York Red Bulls in July, and admits that it is “fantastic” be playing once again.
“It was very disappointing to get injured - to be back after such a long time is what I have been dreaming about for the past six months,” he said.
“I played in the Emirates Cup, but when others players [got their first-team chance this season] I was delighted for them, having grown up and come through the youth ranks with them.
“It has been quite hard, but I had a good medical team behind me. Craig Gant, the fitness coach, has helped me a lot and kept me motivated. I am really happy to be back training with the team every day.
“Now I just want to get back to the same level as before, if not better, and see where that takes me. I am not too sure about a loan or if I am going to get a first-team chance but I will take it one step at a time.”
Watch the full interview with Benik on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2013 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 23 Feb 2012