By Giuseppe Muro
Rhys Murphy has set his sights on a loan move next season to give him invaluable first-team experience and fine-tune his finishing.
The 20-year-old was given a taste of life on loan during a short-term deal with Brentford last season. Murphy made one start and five substitute appearances for the League One side before a recurrence of a foot injury curtailed his time at Griffin Park.
Injuries have hampered the striker in recent years, but he seems to be rediscovering something like his best form of late and scored his first goal in over a year during a 2-2 draw with Chelsea on February 2.
There are currently 17 young Gunners continuing their progress across the Football League and further afield in Europe and Murphy says he would love to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Henri Lansbury, who is pulling up trees at Championship side Norwich.
“I think it would definitely do me good to play some League football,” Murphy told Arsenal.com. “For the experience and to try and prove myself at first-team level.
“I had a little taster of it last season and I got to see what it’s like, it was a good insight to League football and seeing how things work.
“People are playing for their positions and that’s what Neil Banfield is getting into us now. Perform well or [we] lose our place. Trying to get out on loan for next season would definitely be an aim I think.”
But there is one major short-term ambition for Murphy - winning the Reserve League South. Neil Banfield’s side are four points clear of nearest rivals West Ham with the finishing line in sight.
Arsenal’s second string entertain Liverpool at Underhill on Wednesday and three points would go some way to tightening their grip on the title.
“[We’re] just trying to finish the season as strongly as we can, we’ve got a great chance to win the Reserve League so we’ll try and win that,” he added.
“Then I want to come back fit and fresh for next season, which is a big thing for me with all my injuries. My fitness is starting to feel back to my best. I feel like I’m getting a lot sharper and that’s starting to show.
“You can get fit with the fitness coach and you can do your training but when you get games in, that’s a big difference.
“Goals definitely get your confidence going. The sharpness will come but as long as I’m getting in those positions I am happy.”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