Fran Merida has denied that he wants to leave Arsenal and says he's working hard to impress manager Arsène Wenger.

After being brought on as a substitute against Everton on Saturday the 19-year-old has now made six Arsenal appearances this season.

The Spaniard moved to Arsenal in the summer of 2006 and rose through the ranks to earn a first-team squad number at the start of this season.

The midfielder scored his first Gunners goal in October's 2-1 Carling Cup victory over Liverpool and made his Champions League debut against Olympiacos earlier this season.

"I've played five games in total [before the Everton match]," he told the Official Matchday Programme.

"Obviously you always want to play, and I'm at an age where you need to really - in the last two seasons maybe I didn't have a run of games so it's a bit difficult.

"But I'm trying to train really hard, because I don't play that much, and to show the boss that I am ready - that's all I can do."

And the 19-year-old's hard work hasn't gone unnoticed by his country. After impressing at the Under-20 World Cup last autumn, Merida has become a key figure with in the Spain Under-21 squad.

"I was involved in our last two UEFA Under-21 Championship qualification games," he said. "We have another in March that I'll hope to play in.

"It's a strong side - players like Diego Capel of Sevilla, Sergio Asenjo of Atletico Madrid, Daniel Parejo who is at Getafe and had a loan spell at QPR, Barcelona's Bojan Krkic - there are plenty who you'll know. Most of the players are already playing in top leagues."

The midfielder also moved to dismiss speculation he is ready to quit the Club, insisting he wants to earn first-team football with Arsenal.

"At the moment I'm in talks with the boss," he said. "I told him I needed a bit of time - the first thing in my mind is definitely to stay here, but I have to look at a few things and we'll see how things progress.

"My agent and I are only talking to Arsenal at the moment, though, and nobody else - first of all I want to see how my situation looks here and then I'll decide what to do."

This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.

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12 Jan 2010