Born: 02/09/1992, London
Position: Centre back
By Lambros Lambrou
Having spent two months on loan with Swindon and Paolo Di Canio, Danny Boateng is keen to get back into competitive first-team football. “That was a really good experience for me,” he says. “I only started two games, which was not ideal, but being around the first team and a group of players going for a league title was a very good experience.
“League Two is not the best league for football to be played in the way that Arsenal like to play, but it was ideal preparation for me as a centre back in developing my aerial play and the physical side of my game. To be fair to Swindon, they try to play the ball on the ground with good passing and movement but the opposition tend to lump it forward more often than not – which, as I said, had its benefits for me in developing some areas of my game and being able to play with some aggression in tackles that I am not sure you could get away with in higher leagues.
“Working with Paolo Di Canio was very good,” he adds. “He is very, very enthusiastic. I don’t think I have ever come across someone that shows so much passion for the game. He was very good at motivating and giving the team belief before games. At the same time though, he was very unpredictable, difficult to read. You would not know what he would do or say from one minute to the next and the result of that is that the players were always alert and on their toes.”
Danny is back at Arsenal now, but despite what he gained on loan he wants to finish the season with the Gunners. He explains: “For the moment I want to stay at Arsenal and try and apply what I learned to my game while learning what I can in training and with the reserves. I believe that is the best way for me at the moment and I hope to go out on loan for a longer spell next season. I would hope to play in the Championship where there is a good balance between the physical game and trying to play football.”
Danny has already made his debut for the Arsenal first team when he replaced Thomas Vermaelen in the 84th minute in our 2-1 Carling Cup win over Bolton at Emirates. “That was a fantastic night for me,” he remembers. “I have been with Arsenal for eight years and always dreamed of making my debut in front of our home crowd.
"As an Arsenal fan, it does not get better than that. The boss told me to just play my game and I slotted in alongside Sebastien Squillaci, who I have played with in the reserves and in training, so I was familiar with his game and he with mine and it was comfortable. I know it was only for 10 minutes or so, but it was the best experience of my football career which has given me the desire to feel it again and again.”
The youngster’s increased self-assurance is noticeable. “I know that when I have spoken in programme interviews in the past I may have come across as not being very confident and I think that is because I still felt quite young,” he states.
“Now I feel that, having experienced being around the first team at Arsenal and living away from London with Swindon, I have matured quite quickly. I have come out of my shell and I am much more positive about the heights I want to reach. I have seen what it is like outside of Arsenal and although I valued my time at Swindon and am sure that will be the same wherever I go on loan, I now know more than ever that it is in the Arsenal first team that I want to be.”
What does Arsenal mean to you?
Arsenal is everything to me – I have been with the Club for eight years, almost half my life!
What would your dream job be, if you weren’t a footballer?
What is the most played song on your iPod?
“I’m a Boss” by Meek and Rick Ross
Last film you saw?
The Devil Inside
What car do you drive?
What is your favourite gadget?
What’s your favourite Rob the Chef dish?
Lasagne and chicken followed by treacle pudding and custard
Apart from football, what sport are you best at?
Which person in the world would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Lisa Raye McCoy
What team did you support as a boy?
Who is the most famous player you have swapped shirts with?
Never swapped shirts with him, but I have a shirt worn by Patrick Vieira
What talent would you most like to have?
To play top-level basketball
Who is the greatest player in your position of all time?
Who are the best band/ act you have seen live?
What is your favourite place in the world?
My family home
Tell us something we may not know about you...
I enjoy reggae music – especially the Jamaican stuff