By Giuseppe Muro

Training with Arsène Wenger’s first-team squad has given Ignasi Miquel extra motivation to become a regular fixture in the senior side.

The young central defender has joined up with the first team in recent months and was twice an unused substitute before being rewarded with his Arsenal debut in the 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient in the FA Cup on February 20.

Being in and around some of the Club’s biggest names has helped Miquel develop his own game and left him with an even greater appetite to climb to the very top at Emirates Stadium.

“You are training with top players who are fighting for the Premier League. I want to be there and [training hard] is the only way to get there,” Miquel told

“There is a much different pace [from the Academy]. Technically and tactically it’s absolutely different. It’s a different level, a level that you want to reach.

“I think I’ve done well but there are still things [I need] to improve. I have to get stronger, a bit quicker and more aggressive. I want that and I’m going to keep training to improve myself.

“It’s the best thing to do to get to that level. I think I am quite far from them but I want to fight for it.”

Miquel could yet play an important role in Arsenal’s Premier League run-in with injuries to Johan Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen pushing him up the pecking order.

He is expected to start on the bench for Saturday’s crucial Premier League trip to West Brom, but understands if he is only used as cover from now until May.

“I still need experience,” he added. “You always want to play for the first team but I know it will be difficult. But obviously I want it, who doesn’t want to play for the first team?”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
16 Mar 2011