Serge Gnabry feels ready to establish himself as a first-team regular at Arsenal.
The 18-year-old made his full Premier League debut at the weekend as a late replacement for Theo Walcott, and he acquitted himself well against a muscular Stoke City side.
This competition has done a lot because it gives young players a chance, especially at Premier League clubsSerge Gnabry
According to Arsène Wenger, Gnabry has a “fantastic opportunity” to stake a first-team claim in the wake of Walcott’s abdominal injury, and he gets another chance on Wednesday as a young Gunners squad travels to West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup.
“I think I'm close [to being a regular],” said Gnabry, speaking ahead of the Stoke game. “I've been around the squad for most of the games now so I think it's going very well and I'm pleased with the situation I'm in right now.
“I need a couple more games to get back my match sharpness and I need to improve on my technique and my weaker foot. The game is quicker [at this level], other players are stronger and faster so it's really difficult to defend but you have to adapt to it. I'm working on that side of my game.”
Like so many Arsenal youngsters, Gnabry was given his first chance in the League Cup. He came on as a substitute in last season’s third-round tie against Coventry City and then started the 7-5 win at Reading in the next round.
“I was very excited [against Coventry],” he said. “Playing in the first team for the first time was really pleasing and if I look back I'm delighted with the way it went.
“As for Reading, that was just a special night. Everyone who has seen the game must have gone crazy about it so it was really good to be involved in that game and it was a great experience.
“This competition has done a lot because it gives young players a chance, especially at Premier League clubs. It's a really good competition and I'm hoping I'm going to be involved in it this season.
“I think we can win it [the Capital One Cup] because we've got good players. We are obviously young but it's not about age. I think we have a chance.”