By Joe Brewin

Wojciech Szczesny says being around the likes of Thierry Henry and Jens Lehmann as a youngster was all the motivation he needed to become a success.

The 21-year-old joined the Arsenal academy in 2006 after impressing on trial and has gone on to make 71 first-team appearances despite only making his Premier League debut in December 2010.

His rapid rise to prominence may have taken a few people by surprise but Szczesny believes the set-up at Arsenal can inspire any young player to achieve their goals.

“I think what really made me motivated was seeing all the superstars around the training ground,” Szczesny told Arsenal Player. “Back then you had the likes of Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Jens Lehmann.

“They were some fantastic players to be around and seeing them there every day just made you think that you want to be there around them [on the pitch] one day. It makes you want to work hard.

“I hope that some of the kids in the youth team now are looking at me and thinking 'I want to be his team-mate one day'. It has been a very good journey.  

“I think the first time I got scouted by Arsenal was in a game against France [for Poland Under-15s], which we drew 0-0 in and I did quite well. So I was invited on trial when I was 15.

“I loved London from the minute I landed at Heathrow Airport, I thought it was fantastic. I also loved the atmosphere around the training ground and the facilities, it was all just there for me to go on and make a career in football.

“I just thought to myself, 'it's a chance you get once in a lifetime', and so it was quite an easy decision for me to join Arsenal.”

Watch the full ‘Close Up’ interview with Wojciech on Arsenal Player now.

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 2 May 2012