By Chris Harris
At some point today, Emmanuel Frimpong's mobile phone will make a strange noise. It will be a text message. And it will be from Thomas Ince.
The Liverpool youngster is a good friend of the Arsenal midfielder and the banter has ebbed and flowed between them ever since their two clubs advanced to the FA Youth Cup Final. Ince - the son of former England star Paul - will be at Emirates Stadium for Friday's first leg before Frimpong makes the trip north to Anfield next Tuesday.
There will be smiles and handshakes between the pair before and after both games but the tough-tackling Frimpong is hardly the type to share pleasantries once the first whistle has blown. The muscular 17-year-old intends to put his mate in his place.
"I'm going to be playing against Thomas because he plays just off the striker," Frimpong told Arsenal.com.
"I'll be facing him during the game and I'm hope that I can play better than him and stop him playing for Liverpool. I have played with him in the same England team - that's how I know him.
"He's always texting me about the game, when I'm sleeping or when I'm waking up in the morning I'll get a message saying 'see you there!' He is giving me something to look forward to and hopefully I can keep him quiet on the day."
May has been a month to savour for Frimpong. He put in a towering performance as Steve Bould's boys secured the Academy League title at White Hart Lane last Sunday and is still buzzing after being named among the substitutes for the Premier League victory at Portsmouth.
"That was probably the best experience of my life in terms of football," admitted Frimpong.
"About two days before the game Neil [Banfield] told us there might be a chance of some of us being on the bench, but I wasn't expecting it. Then the day before the game I trained with the first team and I trained very well. I went in the changing room and I found out a few minutes later that I was on the bench for the Portsmouth game. I was surprised.
"I was playing alongside Alex Song in training and I was playing against Cesc [Fabregas] and Denilson. If I can do well against them hopefully I can do well against anyone."
And that includes his friend, Thomas Ince.Copyright 2017 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