As a first year scholar, the important thing is to learn as quickly as possible and put the footballing lessons into practice.
Mitchell Murphy first played for the Under-17s when he was still an Under-15 team member but the youngster learnt a valuable lesson for life on the pitch in the opening game of last season.
Steve Bould's team were playing Manchester United and were trailing despite playing well. Nothing seemed to be going right for the Gunners and the bizarre event involving Mitchell typified Arsenal's fortunes that day. The youngster received a pass on the right flank and with a turn of electric pace left his marker flat-footed.
Mitchell cut into the right side of the box, shrugged off the challenge of another attacker, beat the goalkeeper before steering his shot towards an empty net. A goal looked certain but, inexplicably, the ball started to decelerate giving a United defender who had not given up the chase the time to hook the ball off the line. Murphy had stopped running and was on the verge of celebrating what would have been a tremendous solo goal.
"That taught me a massive lesson," recalls the youngster.
"That missed goal preyed on my mind for quite a while. Now, I make an extra effort with everything I do on and off the pitch to make sure I see things through. Nothing is done until it is done," he insists.
Young Mitchell has been getting the job done for Arsenal and England for quite a few years but the youngster did a job on the young Gunners a few years ago.
"I used to play for Crystal Palace and I absolutely hated playing Arsenal because they used to batter us every time. Things weren't going well for me at Palace and I wanted to move but I played in another game for them against Arsenal. I scored five goals in that match and I guess I caught their attention and so when I was ready to leave, Arsenal took me on trial and I then signed up as a schoolboy. It was the best move I made because I believe I have improved tremendously," argues the youngster, who feels the coaching he is receiving is more advanced.
"At Palace we used to do a bit of fitness training and then play matches. At Arsenal there are drills designed to help in match situations. One example I can give is that Palace wanted me to be able to play with both feet as I was so left-sided. To make me use my right foot they used to make me play without a boot on my left foot. I still used to shoot with my left with just a sock," he smiles.
"At Arsenal there are a variety of drills designed to develop muscle memory for me to use my right foot and now I feel virtually as comfortable on my right foot as I do with my left."
Mitchell will compete for a place in the Under-18s team this year which will be made up of first and second year scholars. The 16 year-old usually plays as a striker and has averaged over 20 goals a season, but he expects to play most of this term on the left or right flank, but he still has his sights set on netting over 20 times.
"I think that there are so many strikers at the Club if I am realistic, my best chance of making it at Arsenal is as an attacking midfielder. I've concentrated on watching Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, especially their off-the-ball running. I believe I can develop well in that position especially as I play on the left of a three pronged attack when I play for England. It's not a totally new role for me."
Even if he was unaccustomed to playing on the flank, Mitchell has proven his versatility.
"I used to play in central midfield when I was younger and then moved into attack and on the wing, but I've played a few games for Neil Banfield as left-back. I was supposed to be a substitute but when the left-back didn't make it for the game Neil asked me to play as full-back. I've got to say it took some getting used to but he must have been reasonably pleased with me as I played there a few times over the past couple of seasons. Hopefully," he grins, "I'll play more games in attack this year so I can keep my record of scoring over 20 goals a season. I believe I can do it if I get enough games, even on the wing." Let's hope so.
By Lambros Lambrou25 Aug 2004