By Chris Harris
Last season Nicklas Bendtner was finding his way in first-team football. Now the Danish striker is becoming part of the furniture at Emirates Stadium.
The 20-year-old made 40 appearances last term but the majority of those came as a substitute. This season Bendtner has featured in seven of Arsenal's nine games and, significantly, he has started more often than not.
Add to that a run of four goals in four games - the Dane is almost halfway towards last season's tally already - and it's easy to see why Bendtner feels that his Arsenal career is on a steady upward curve.
"It's true, the first season is an establishing season where you have to get used to everything," he told Arsenal.com. "Whereas in this season I want to push on, to play more regularly and show people what I really can do, because so far what people have seen is far from everything.
"I don't feel any extra pressure when I come into the team because, when you play for a club like Arsenal, there will always be pressure on you. To be quite honest I've always had pressure on me so it doesn’t really matter to me. I'll take the pressure and still play the way I play.
"We have five top strikers, all very different as well, but I think it’s a good mixture. You know that if you don’t do well for a few games then you’ll have someone breathing down your neck or maybe ready to take your spot because that’s the way it is at a big club. Arsenal is no exception."
Bendtner is still very young in football terms but he found himself in alien territory on Tuesday night as one of the 'elder statesmen' of Arsenal's Carling Cup side. The Dane was one of just five non-teenagers in Arsène Wenger's squad and led the way with the first two goals in a scintillating 6-0 victory.
Bendtner enjoyed himself against Sheffield United and no wonder. As far as the 20-year-old is concerned, there is no better place for a young footballer to be than Emirates Stadium.
"It was strange for me because I was the fourth oldest player and I've never tried that before," he said.
"It was good, I don’t really mind, I've played with those players before and I know them very well so it was OK for me. We played really well and it was good.
"We all get taught the same style of football from a young age at Arsenal and I think that's great. All through the ranks the coaching and everything is fantastic, the way they work with the players and the way they treat them.
"It's not just the first team, but all through the youth ranks it's amazing, I think for every young player it is a treat to come here."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 26 Sep 2008