By Lloyd Webb
It has been an unforgettable six months for Donyell Malen.
The forward arrived in north London in the summer, having previously learnt his trade with Ajax under Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, and is now learning the other side of the his game from the Dutchman's former partner, Thierry Henry, for the Gunners’ under-18 and under-19 sides.
The 16-year-old has impressed so much in his first few months with Arsenal that he has already been promoted to the under-21s, and scored the winner against Brighton & Hove Albion with a fine solo effort at The Amex.
"He and Henry are legends. There are different things to learn from each of them and they are two amazing people"
Of course Malen has had to adapt to a new style of football in a different country, but the forward insists he has all the right attributes to succeed in England ahead of the under-21s’ match against Aston Villa on Monday.
“I think it has been a good six months,” he told Arsenal.com. “I have done well and I have settled down. I’m relaxed. It is a family club so I think that really helped. Everybody from the security guys to my team-mates have helped me. I knew the club quite well so it is not like the club is new for me.
“It is a different league. I’m strong enough for this league and I finding my way so it is hard. I think it is more physical and it is a different way. There are more tackles. In Holland we play a bit more possession while here it is more about scoring a goal. It is different but I can play both ways."
Malen has featured on either wing for Arsenal Under-21s and also in the Youth League, but the teenager believes that he is more suited to leading the line.
“Best for me is striker but I can play left wing and maybe on the right wing but playing as a striker is my main position. I think I’m fast, strong and have good technique and it is my natural position.
“Bergkamp didn’t tell me anything about Arsenal. He did teach me football things such as checking my shoulder, checking for space and a few other technical things.
“He and Henry are legends. There are different things to learn from each of them and they are two amazing people. If you have a question you can ask it and they will answer your question in a good way both on and off the pitch.”
Follow @Arsenal on Twitter from 12:55pm (UK time) on Monday for live updates of the game against Aston Villa Under-21s at Meadow Park.
Copyright 2023 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.