By Chris Harris
Neil Banfield will be a proud man on Tuesday night.
The Reserve team manager is one of the coaches responsible for the conveyer belt of talent which emerges from the Arsenal academy each year. He is there as the Club's young hopefuls take their first steps as professionals and test themselves in the Reserve League before heading out on loan or - ideally - breaking into Arsène Wenger's first team.
The Carling Cup is a prestigious staging post for so many promising young Gunners and Banfield will be a keen spectator at Emirates Stadium when West Bromwich Albion provide the opposition in the Third Round of this season's competition.
Banfield will be keeping a close eye on the likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Jack Wilshere, Fran Merida and Sanchez Watt as his Reserve-team regulars look to make a lasting impression at a higher level. And the second-string boss admits that watching his young charges on the big stage will be a moment to treasure.
"I said to them the other day, I get pleasure from watching them when they make the first team," he told Arsenal.com.
"When you see the lads who have been through here, it gives you a sense of satisfaction.
"I will certainly be there on Tuesday. All the lads will be itching to get the call from the manager and hopefully one or two of them will do.
"It's a big opportunity for them because they know now they might have a chance and the manager has decided to use young players [and sees the Carling Cup] as a window for them to show what they can do at another level.
"I think it's great, and hopefully a couple of them will be selected."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 22 Sep 2009