By Declan Taylor
Kyle Bartley is determined to make up for lost time after enduring an injury-ravaged campaign in 2007/08.
The Manchester-born youngster managed only two Reserve team appearances last season but has been an ever-present in Neil Banfield’s side this term.
Bartley has locked horns with Didier Drogba, David Nugent and Kanu already this season and 90 minutes alongside five-time Premier League winner Mikael Silvestre in the centre of Arsenal’s defence on Monday night will have further aided his development.
“It was terrific playing alongside Mikael,” said Bartley. “He’s a great player and I have watched him over the years. He was fantastic on Monday night and he was a great help communicating and his experience was brilliant.
“This season is massive for me. I feel if I can establish myself in the Reserves I can hopefully push on from there. Last year was disappointing for me but I think I have made quite a good start to this season and I just want to carry on with that.
“I am surrounded by fantastic players here and being able to play football is great. That is the way I like to play so being involved in that is good for me.”
The 17-year-old saw the likes of Mark Randall and Kieran Gibbs go out on loan last term and a similar spell is something that would appeal to Bartley.
“I am probably too young this year but next year I would welcome that,” he said. “Just to get that experience from going out on loan would be a good learning curve for me.
“I think it would make me a lot stronger and of course experienced. The amount of long-ball stuff there would probably improve my heading too. It would be a great experience for me and I would certainly welcome that.”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