By Lloyd Webb
You will do well to find an under-21s player with more first-team experience than Matt Macey.
The goalkeeper was a substitute for five games in March, acting as cover for David Ospina following Petr Cech’s hamstring injury against Swansea City.
Macey was in the matchday squad for the clashes with Watford, Hull City and Everton, while also experiencing the Nou Camp and the north London derby.
"Derby are a good team, I think we beat them 3-2 earlier in the season. They will want revenge and obviously we want to win the league because we feel like we deserve to"
He was also back up to Cech earlier in the campaign, and - speaking ahead of the under-21s' clash with league leaders Derby - he has clearly benefited from his time in Arsene Wenger’s squad.
“It was good, it was my second spell with the first team this season as earlier Ospina was out injured,” Macey told Arsenal.com. “I got a taste of it then so I was a bit more prepared this time.
“There were some big games in that period in relation to where we are in the league so it was a good experience. That is what you play for, you want to be involved in the massive games. You have to take it a game at a time. If it happens [that you come on], you have to trust that you have the ability to do a good job for your team.
“When you are involved with Arsenal you have got a big game every week and there is that chance where you will get games. Even the other matches I was involved in, such as Everton, Tottenham or Hull City in the FA Cup, they were all massive games in the season so it is not like they don’t matter.”
Macey played his first game since February to help the under-21s beat Newcastle United 3-1 on Friday night, and says it has put him in good shape ahead of Monday’s clash.
“It is easy adapting back to the under-21s because we play a similar style,” he said. "It is good to get a game in and it sets me up for a massive game [against Derby].
“Derby are a good team, I think we beat them 3-2 earlier in the season. They will want revenge and obviously we want to win the league because we feel like we deserve to. We have been the better team in most of the games. This will be good and is what we play for.”
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