By Joe Brewin
Zak Ansah will have Steve Bould’s words ringing in his ears as he looks to progress through the ranks at Arsenal.
The 17-year-old has forced himself into Neil Banfield’s Reserves squad after making his mark in the Academy League under the watchful eye of former Gunner Bould.
Ansah came off the bench for the second string during Monday’s 2-0 win over Fulham and he says his coach’s advice will hold him in good stead if he gets further opportunities.
“Steve tells us to work as a team, we're not just individuals and we have to work together,” Ansah told Arsenal.com. “'Don't be the star' is his motto really.
“Hopefully I can do as well as I can for Steve in the youth team, play well in the Youth Cup and then break through properly into Neil's Reserve team.
“It's a big step up from playing that football on a Saturday to the Reserves. Sometimes you might play against experienced first-team players for example.
“I think it's going well, I'm just getting used to the pace of the game. All the lads have welcomed me in so far.
“Playing with somebody like Emmanuel Frimpong who has broken into the first team is great. It's a big level physically but it's really good. Hopefully fingers crossed I'll keep doing well when I get my chance and we'll see what happens.”
The Under-18s suffered defeat at the hands of Norwich City at London Colney on Saturday despite a spirited two-goal fightback against the Canaries. In a close-fought Premier Academy League, Ansah says Bould’s side are still yet to find their best form.
“I think we're confident but I really don't think we've hit our top form yet this season,” he said. We're still only a couple of points off the top of the league.
“We lost at the weekend which was disappointing but we could have won the game. We just didn't quite perform to the best of our abilities.”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 9 Nov 2011