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 striker Kaylen Hinds.
Although the tournament was not a success for England, playing in the u17s World Cup in Chile during the summer and scoring in the opening game has been the highlight of my career so far. It was such a good experience to learn more about high level tournament football.
As a team I don’t think we played too badly but we just could not convert our chances and really get into top gear. It’s hard to explain why. My goal against Guinea in our first match was a personal highlight but overall it was disappointing because I I really expected us o go on to do good things.
Watching and learning about other teams and players and different styles was a valuable experience. There was a lot of talent on show that I am sure we will soon see in the Premier League. Nigeria won the tournament and they were deserved winners and they had the best player on show in attack in Kelechi Nwakali. He is a really quick, inventive striker with a killer finish.
I see that he has been linked with Arsenal in the media and if he joins us I am sure he will develop into a top player. I came back from the World Cup quite refreshed and keen to get the season off to a good start. I did a lot of recovery exercises after every game and I think that helps.
I began the season playing for the under-21s. I now play as a second striker, a number 10, but in a style that I can also use my pace, power and strength to run at defenders as well as making opportunities with my passing. All was going really well until the end of December when I developed a shin injury that turned out to be a fracture.
"I am looking to continue my development with the under-21s this year and hopefully will feature in some way in the first team squad between now and the end of the season"
We think I picked it up in the under-19s UEFA Champions League game against Dinamo Zagreb, but I played two games after that match before it became a real problem. I was out for six weeks and only came back recently but I now feel strong and was very happy to score the winner against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup to get us through to the semi finals against Manchester City.
It was a tough game again against Liverpool but I think playing at the Emirates with the crowd behind us gave us a good advantage which was enough to see us through. We are all looking forward to playing Man City in a couple of weeks. We play away in the first leg and then it is back at the Emirates again.
We will try and win both legs but the important thing is to come away with a good result in the away leg and then try and finish the job off in front of or fans. City are a good outfit and I know a few of the players from England duty but we have a great squad and very good spirit. Confidence is high but we know we will have a battle.
We will have to be prepared to give everything to get through and keep doing justice to the performances and effort we put in in previous rounds particularly against Coventry City away. I would not say that we underestimated them, but they did surprise us how good they were and getting through that game has given us all inspiration to win the tournament.
We are focused on Man City now and the prize of winning the FA Youth Cup which has been won by so many players who have gone on to become top senior professionals and Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin are just two from our current first team and we want to follow in their footsteps.
I am looking to continue my development with the under-21s this year and hopefully will feature in some way in the first team squad between now and the end of the season. I am hoping to go out on loan next year to get some first-team experience at a club where I will get a lot of games which will further progress my development.
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