By Chris Harris
Luke Freeman is giving himself the "best chance" of forging a successful career, according to Neil Banfield.
The 17-year-old striker has been in prolific form for Arsenal's Under-18s this season, netting 13 times in 15 starts so far. And he is up and running at Reserves level too after scoring his first goal for the second string in Monday night's 2-1 win at Chelsea.
Freeman broke the deadlock at Griffin Park with a typical poacher's finish in the first half but he caught the eye with his all-round game. The teenager linked up play well all night and showed good awareness to pick out Gilles Sunu for what proved to be the winner in the second half.
There was a buzz around Freeman when he arrived at Emirates Stadium in 2008 after making his first-team debut for Gillingham at the tender age of 15. Banfield believes the striker has what it takes to stake his claim at Arsenal too.
"Luke is progressing nicely," Banfield told Arsenal.com. "He's got the enthusiasm, a good attitude and he's giving himself the best chance. He's done well tonight but we don't like to get too carried away with one performance.
"I think maybe it's a little bit tighter for a striker at this level, the opportunities don't come along as much so when you get the opportunity you have to put it away. I think at youth level maybe you can get in a few more times than at this level. So the actual level of striking has to be a bit better.
"I think Luke was well aware [when he arrived at Arsenal] that he was one for the future and has to work on his game. He has applied himself really well."