By Declan Taylor

Rhys Murphy never doubted his ability to come back stronger than ever from a frustrating seven-week injury lay-off.

The striker emerged from the bench in the 86th minute and promptly marked his return to the side with the Gunners’ third goal in their FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final victory over Spurs.

It was the 17-year-old’s first appearance for Arsenal since being stretchered off after 35 minutes of January’s Fourth-Round tie against Wolves with a fractured ankle. Although he admitted that the lay-off was frustrating, Murphy knew that he was in safe hands on the sidelines.

“It’s great to be back because it’s frustrating watching, you want to be part of it,” he told after the victory. “Thankfully it all went well when I got the nod, I got the goal, but more importantly we went through. The team did great today.

“In football you have to take the good with the bad and the physios are great at keeping you focused. I’ve been working closely with Cookie [Jon Cooke – Youth Team Physiotherapist] and Craig [Craig Gant – Youth Team Fitness Coach] who have been great – although they have made sure I give them a special thanks!

“There’s no good time to be injured but hopefully you get them out of the way. No player wants to get injured but it makes you sure you can come back from them – although I never have any doubt.”

Murphy is no stranger to dramatic Youth Cup goals having struck what looked to be the winner against Manchester United in the Semi Final at Old Trafford two seasons ago. However, that night the young Gunners were undone by an extra-time header from Danny Wellbeck.

The striker admitted that his clinical stoppage-time finish at White Hart Lane was on a par with that goal in 2007.

“It’s right up there with goal at Old Trafford,” he continued. “White Hart Lane is a great place to score when you play for Arsenal.  For me it was a nice goal, it was a great ball from Francis, but even if it was a two-yard tap-in I would have been happy.

“Any player has to enjoy games like this, this is what you’re a footballer for. It was nice to score in front of all those fans. They were great tonight and I was really surprised. They were fantastic and they got behind us from start to finish.”

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6 Mar 2009