In Young Guns, featured first in the official matchday programme, we find out about the next generation of Arsenal youngsters, in their own words. This week we spoke to midfielder Charlie Gilmour.
"I only became a footballer because of my dad. When I was very young, he set up the Ian Gilmour Football Academy in Brighton. My dad is a good coach and used to play for Motherwell, and he wanted to try and give kids a chance to play football as well as they can, as early as possible.
"I was spotted by Arsenal at a tournament when I was six. A Gunners scout came up to my dad and invited me for a trial at Hale End. I was speechless because I hadn’t even thought about football in a serious way like that. I was just playing for fun. I went along to train and pretty soon after I was signed.
"I remember it like it was yesterday. I was so happy because I am an Arsenal fan and I’ve been with my club ever since. Now I’m a scholar I have a better chance of achieving my dream and playing for the first team. Plus I want to pay back my mum and dad for all the years of commitment and sacrifice.
"I want to pay back my mum and dad for all the years of commitment and sacrifice"
"Because we lived in Brighton, my mum would have to change her shifts around at work so she could drive me to Hale End, up to three times a week. The journey averaged two and a half hours but I remember one return trip took nine hours because of all the traffic!
"I play in central midfield and always have done, but I’ve changed the way I play slightly since joining Arsenal. When I was very young I used to dribble with the ball a lot, but passing has become a much bigger part of my game and if there’s a player I try to emulate it’s Steven Gerrard. I try to have the same balance to my game as he has. At Arsenal the player I most look to is Santi Cazorla.
"I use both feet and am developing my skills with him as a model. He has such quick feet and can go in any direction – that’s why opponents don’t know what he’s going to do. Santi has so much footballing talent but he also has the talent to use it. He gives everything for every minute of every game. That’s why I admire him so much.
"I am also an England Under-17. We have a lot of games in a short period of time and I find going away with England beneficial. Not just because you play with different players and against different styles, but when I come back to Arsenal I feel I have added something more to my overall game. I feel that much more confident every time.
"I suppose it is because it is an honour to play for my country. It’s the attitude I like too. The England coaches encourage us to express ourselves and that’s a great atmosphere for any player to be involved in.
"I’m enjoying being a scholar at Arsenal and I hope to keep improving, develop my game and hopefully score 15 goals this season for club and country. I scored 10 last year and am looking to add to that this term."
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