Nicklas Bendtner firmly believes that Arsenal's youngsters can win the Carling Cup.

The tall Danish striker nodded home the opening goal against Newcastle in Tuesday night's Third Round victory at Emirates Stadium.

Bendtner was one of three players who made their first start for the Club. In addition, Fran Merida was handed a debut. It was typical tactics from Arsène Wenger, who has used the extremities of his squad in this competition for the best part of a decade. It has hardly harmed their progress.

In three out of the last four years Arsenal have reached the Semi-Final and last season they were pipped by Chelsea at Cardiff. Bendtner believes they can go one better this time.

"Yes, I think so," said the 19-year-old. "It's a good tournament and of course we all want to win it. The young players all want to play all the games we can.

"All through the Club, including all the young players, everyone knows what it's all about and the way to play football. At the moment the confidence is really, really high. Tonight was just another showing of what the Club is going through at the moment. We are doing everything really well. Everyone is really happy and wants to play for the Club.

"Of course we say 'young players' but there were quite a few today who play for the first-team and who have been involved for a long time now. If one or two weren't there the average age would be around 20.

"But overall we played really good football in stages, showed great desire and belief in winning the game. I think it was a deserved win."

And a deserved goal for Bendtner too.

"It's always nice as a striker to score," he smiled. "It was important for me, of course, and also for the team because we needed to go through to the next round. It looked like we weren't going to score - Eduardo had one, Theo had one. We had a lot of chances. But the first goal was important and of course I was pleased to score it."

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26 Sep 2007