Interview

Arteta on... Balogun and Okonkwo's promotion

The walk from the academy changing room to the that of the first team is the most significant in a young player's early career.

Folarin Balogun and Arthur Okonkwo have both made it this pre-season - but Mikel Arteta says that it is only the start for them.

"It is great," he told Arsenal Media. "It is just a small step, but now the bigger step is trying to become a regular in the first team. That is a small step compared to the next step they have to take. 

"That is the first thing they have to realise, the hard work is not done yet. The hard work is going to start right now, and the expectations start right now and if they have this mentality they have the potential, we believe in them and they will have the opportunities.

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"Both of them are really different but at the same time very similar," he added. "They have both raised the level of the academy to a point that it wasn’t any more for them so we had to look to create the space around the first team for them to be able to develop in the way that we want them to. 

"I think they are the right age and they have the space in the squad to do that and they have the hunger and they showed the desire to stay at the football club and fight to become one of the first-team regulars."

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