By Chris Harris
If Henri Lansbury lines up against Sheffield United this evening, it will end a long wait for the talented teenager.
The 17-year-old is one of the most highly-rated products of Arsenal's youth system and made his debut against tonight's opponents during last season's Carling Cup run. However Lansbury's career was temporarily put on hold when he contracted an illness.
The England Under-19 captain had to watch from the sidelines as his peers advanced to the Semi-Finals of last season's competition but the stylish midfielder is back in action and ready to make up for lost time.
"The illness knocked me out for about six months," he told Arsenal.com.
"When I first had it I couldn't get out of bed. I had no energy. It just kills you. I had to make sure I was completely fit before I played again. Now I have to keep getting stronger, keep working on my football and come back flying.
"It was frustrating to be on the sidelines and I had to pick myself up, but now I have to keep working. My target is to push to the first team now. I need to keep working, keep getting better and keep knocking on the door of Arsène Wenger."
A strong performance at Emirates Stadium tonight will certainly give the Frenchman food for thought. And if Lansbury can break into the first-team on a regular basis, what can the Arsenal supporters expect from him?
"I am an attacking midfielder and I prefer to play in the centre but I am playing on the right until I get a bit bigger," he explained. "Then hopefully I can push into the centre. I like to model myself a bit on Steven Gerrard, he's a great player."
If he achieves those lofty targets, Lansbury will be worth the wait.Copyright 2014 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 Sep 2008