By Nick Teale
Luke Freeman says he was glad to make his mark on the Reserves when he scored in only his second start of the season against Chelsea last month.
The striker has been in prolific form for Arsenal's Under-18s this term, scoring 13 goals in 15 Academy League starts.
With attacking players including Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Gilles Sunu currently out on loan, Freeman has an opportunity to make more appearances for Neil Banfield's Reserves in their five remaining League fixtures of the season.
Speaking to Arsenal.com about making the step-up from the Under-18s, the Dartford-born youngster said playing at a higher level would naturally make him a better player.
"It's a lot more physical and a lot quicker," he explained. "But it makes you a better player. If you are playing against and training with better players, you are going to become a better player yourself.
"But in the Reserves you've got to take it game by game. I'm looking for 25 goals or more this season. That’s my target and hopefully I'll achieve it.
"At the moment I'm on course for it, I've just got to keep my head down and keep on working hard.
"The Chelsea game was my second start of the season, so I'd been waiting for my chance and I was glad to take it."
Freeman has been one of the most regular names in Steve Bould's side this season but the youngster hasn’t been with Arsenal for as long as some of his team-mates.
He joined the Club in 2008 from Gillingham, where he had become their youngest ever first-team player aged 15 years and 233 days. His substitute appearance against Barnet also made him the youngest ever player to feature in an FA Cup match.
Speaking about that match, the 17-year-old said it’s only now that he appreciates how important it was.
"At the time it was all a blur," he said. "It's only looking back on it now that I have matured and got older that you think it was a big thing.
"I feel like I understand both sides of the game now. I've come from a lower-league team so I feel like I understand the physical demands of lower-league football.
"Now I've come to Arsenal I can get to grips with playing [technical] football so I feel I can understand both styles of football now.
"When Arsenal came for me I jumped at the opportunity and to this day I'm still grateful for it. I've been here almost two years now and looking back I have improved so much and become such a better player."Copyright 2016 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