Balogun - I know I can meet fans' expectations

Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first-team changing room this season, and now the young striker is itching to show his worth.

The New York-born forward has been handed the No 26 shirt this season, having signed a new contract in April, and could get a chance to impress this weekend as Emirates Stadium hosts the Mind Series match against Chelsea.

Speaking exclusively in the matchday programme for Sunday's match, Balogun said: "I don't see pressure as a negative – it's a privilege. It's always a good opportunity to show people what you can do.

"I'm really happy that the fans are there helping me, supporting me and it's nice to know that they have expectations of me because I am confident that I can meet them."

The 20-year-old scored twice and assisted once from just 76 minutes of senior football last term, and has already registered in this pre-season. It means he is full of confidence going into the new campaign, especially as he is now officially part of the first-team squad.

"I feel it's important to be in the first team changing room with the rest of the players," the England youth international said. "You feel like you are actually, fully involved.

"That's something I'm really happy with, I feel like more a part of the set up and that helps on the pitch as well.

"I always back myself. The more you prepare for something, the more confident you get, so I just need to keep working hard and sharpening up my tools."

You can read the full interview with Balogun in the Sunday's matchday programme, which is available to buy at club stores from tomorrow, and of course from the stadium on matchday. You can also buy the special, large-format collectable issue from Arsenal Direct, priced at £5.

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