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 forward Yassin Fortune .
Football has always been my passion and I think it began when watching the game with my dad when I was about three or four. I used to love watching him play and going to the park with him. We would watch a lot of football and in France, because I’m from Paris, I liked Paris Saint-Germain.
But I always enjoyed the Premier League and tried to watch all the games that Arsenal and Manchester United played. One of my heroes was Thierry Henry. He was the reason I used to favour Arsenal. I loved the way he played and wanted to be like him but in truth, I think I’m more like Danny Welbeck as a player.
He is the one I like to watch and learn from today as I play on the left wing and as a striker. Like Welbeck, I like to play for the team and help create goals, but scoring goals brings the biggest happiness for me. It’s a special feeling.
I’ve scored five times from 12 games this season and I want to add more and more. I very much enjoy the way the game is played in England. The game here tends to be more physical and not as technical as a result. I’ve had to do a lot of work in the gym to develop my physique, power and strength, and that has helped me settle in to the football here.
I feel I’ve become quicker as a result. My immediate aim is to keep improving those aspects and keep developing my performances in the under-18s to justify selection for the under-21s. Hopefully I can train with the first team before the end of this season too.
I’m enjoying life on the pitch and off it too. I think I was helped by a number of things. I joined Lens when I was 13 and left my family home to live at their academy. It was tough in the first month being away from everybody but over time I got used to it, made good friends and started enjoying it.
I think I grew up a lot and was also able to improve my education, including my English. The coaches at Lens made sure that we kept up our studies. If anyone was not performing in the classroom, it was addressed by the teachers and the coaches together.
My first few months in England have been enjoyable and I’ve been made to feel very welcome by everyone at Arsenal. My team-mates are all good people and I live in Cockfosters in digs with Mark, Cassie and their family. They care for me and are very nice people, which helps me concentrate on improving as a player and reassures my family too.
I’m enjoying the way things are going in the under-18s. There are a lot of good players and we have a good spirit. I enjoy being on the left wing or as a striker, and for France Under-17s I play wide.
It’s an attacking role where I can use my pace. The national team play with a high tempo and lots of quick passes. It’s a very technical game that I enjoy. The first I knew of Arsenal’s interest was actually after a game for France against Wales.
I was signed pretty quickly after and I was so happy and proud that a club like Arsenal wanted me. Now I’m here, I hope to keep developing to make the most of my opportunity here at this top club.
Three of the best
...positions I can play in 1. Left winger 2. Striker 3. Attacking midfielder
...best aspects of my game 1. Speed 2. Technical ability 3. Shooting
...things I can improve on 1. Movement 2. Vision 3. Passing
... players I’m similar to 1. Thierry Henry 2. Danny Welbeck 3. Kingsley Coman
...footballing heros 1. Ronaldinho 2. Thierry Henry 3. Zinedine Zidane
...favourite foods 1. Rice salad 2. Couscous 3. My aunt’s chicken
...best friends in football 1. Jeff Reine-Adelaide 2. Jean-Kevin Duverne 3. Jean Ricner Bellegarde
...most used Apps 1. Instagram 2. Snapchat 3. Facebook
...favourite TV series 1. 90210 Beverly Hills, 2. Empire 3. Ballers
...tracks on your ultimate playlist 1. Babylone – Zina 2. Zaho – Je Te Promets 3. Chris Brown – Don’t Judge Me
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.