By Connor Armstrong
To be the best you can be, you’ve got to challenge yourself.
That’s something that Ben Sheaf knows all too well after a change in position and promotion to the top tier of Premier League 2.
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The 18-year-old made his first appearance in the centre of defence for Steve Gatting’s under-23 side in the 2-0 loss to Reading last Friday and is looking to put things right against Manchester City this weekend.
“It was a disappointing result and performance. I think we were probably second best in all areas of the pitch,” he told Arsenal.com. "We weren’t good last Friday night and we want to improve and put those wrongs right.
“It was our first game in the top division and I think we’ve learnt from that - we can take what we learnt from it into the Man City match, which will be even tougher.”
Sheaf arrived at the club from West Ham United in 2011 as a midfielder, but is relishing the new experiences afforded to him.
“Reading was my first game at centre-half and it’s a new experience, it’s different for me,” he said. "I did okay, I guess. But obviously it’s a new position and I’ve got to learn a lot. Again, it’ll be a tougher game for me at City but it’ll be a good learning curve for me."
"It’s a new position and I’ve got to learn a lot. Again, it’ll be a tougher game for me at City but it’ll be a good learning curve for me."
The shift from central midfield to centre back is a process that has already been undertaken by Krystian Bielik, and Sheaf says he looks to the Pole for inspiration.
“We’re similar and different at the same time,” he said. "I feel like he’s more of a natural centre half than I am but to do a job there for the team, I will do my best.
“It gives me inspiration to see Krystian getting chances and hopefully I can do the same too.”
Sheaf is under no illusions as to the strength of Friday’s opponents, having been pipped to an FA Youth Cup final by the Citizens last season after a 4-3 aggregate defeat in the semi-final.
“We got knocked out last season by them and I think it’ll be a similar outfit this time,” he said. "I think they’ll be a top, top team, one of the best in this division. It’ll be good to challenge ourselves against them.”
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