By Chris Harris
Kyle Bartley is determined to avoid another dressing down in the dressing room when Arsenal’s youngsters grace Emirates Stadium tonight.
The 17-year-old centre back is expected to line up against Manchester City as Arsenal defend a 2-1 lead in the second leg of their FA Youth Cup Semi-Final. And Bartley knows that Arsenal can ill-afford a repeat of their slack start to the first leg at Eastlands.
City took advantage of a sluggish first-half performance five weeks ago to take the lead before Arsenal turned the tie around in the second half. Bartley clearly remembers the moment they woke up.
“We got a bit of a rollicking off Steve at half-time and I think that helped everyone,” he told Arsenal.com.
“We lacked motivation in the first half which was disappointing but we gave a good performance in the second half. Now we need to start like that on Wednesday.
“I think the team is very laid back, sometimes too laid back, and I think that might have been the reason. But we know what to expect now, we know Man City are a great team and we have to be ready for them.
“It’s a huge night, hopefully there will be a decent crowd at the Emirates. The Youth Cup has been great so far. We’ve had some really good results against top teams and hopefully we can get through and make it to the Final.”
The lure of a Final berth is enough to motivate any young footballer but the Manchester-born Bartley will have an extra incentive to succeed tonight – he used to support City’s rivals.
“I am an Arsenal fan now but I was a Man United fan as a boy so it will mean even more to beat Man City,” he revealed.
“I’ve had plenty of stick from my mates back home so hopefully we can get the right result!”