By Lloyd Webb
So far, so good for Marcus McGuane.
The midfielder set himself a series of targets at the start of the season and has already achieved all of them.
The 16-year-old began by establishing himself as a regular in the under-21 and Uefa Youth League sides after impressing in the under-18s last term.
"It has been a big change though as the intensity in the training is different. Under-18 football is more for development while under-21 football is still for development but there is more emphasis on a win"
McGuane then hoped to start training with the first team and, having done so, admits he has been blown away by the likes of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey.
“ Ozil's passing of the ball and his fluidity as he plays stands out for me,” the teenager told Arsenal.com. "Players like Aaron Ramsey are very energetic, have great technique and always want the ball - I need to add some of those aspects to my game.
“At the beginning of the season, I wanted to be in the under-21s squad by Christmas. I wanted to be training regularly with the under-21s and to have trained with the first team. I have hit all of those goals.
“I had an to to get into the FA Youth Cup squad which I’m now starting in, and also to be in the under-19 squad. I have to keep trying to go higher and higher and the dream is to get into the first team.
“It feels good for my development. Stepping up from the under-18s to training with the under-21s has developed my game and my all-round performance. It has really helped me.
“It has been a big change though as the intensity in the training is different. Under-18 football is more for development while under-21 football is still for development but there is more emphasis on a win. It is harder and people are a lot stronger. You have to be more intelligent with the ball.
“It feels like a successful season but I don’t want to dwell on anything or get big headed,” he continued. "I want to stay grounded and keep on improving my game. The more I improve it the more chances I will get."
The Gunners face Stoke City on Saturday and, after losing to them earlier this season, McGuane says they are keen to avenge the result this weekend.
“If we go away to Stoke we will need to get a win,” he said. "We will be very happy with that. Hopefully I will get into the squad and hopefully I will get another cameo, if not a start.
“We have to learn from [the goalless draw against] Swansea City as we didn’t create as many chances as we would like and we need to be more clinical in the box, remain patient and I need to wait for things to open up as a midfielder.”
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