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 Robbie Burton:
I have been with Arsenal since I was six years old and have gone through all the stages of development of young players here. I was spotted by an Arsenal scout when I was playing for Teviot Rangers, which is a team local to where I lived in Welling.
Being a scholar is different because it is now full time. My focus is purely on becoming the best footballer that I can be. Kwame Ampadu is our coach, and I have known Kwame since he first joined the coaching staff. He gets his message across well and keeps things interesting.
I play in central midfield and I believe that my greatest asset is my passing, but I’m trying to improve that by becoming more naturally two footed. My left is my weaker side and by watching a player like Santi Cazorla, the advantage of being comfortable on either foot is so obvious. He’s a player I look to learn from.
I would say that the player I most aspired to be like was Steven Gerrard. I also play for Wales Under-19s, having first played for the under-16s. Aaron Ramsey is an inspiration to me, and being in such close quarters to Aaron and the other first-team players gives all the young players a boost and a target to aim for.
My grandfather is Welsh, and I was approached by the Wales FA after a tournament at St George’s. We were asked to list what countries we’re eligible to play for, and Wales must have seen that I included them and showed an interest first. I was then asked to play for the under-16s - which I did. I enjoyed it immensely, and I was then involved with the under-17s and I’m now the under-19s.
I was born in England and have been brought up in England, but the fact that I play for Wales had me cheering them on in the European Championships. The game against England was a bit of a tricky one at our house, but I was behind Wales because I have committed to Wales wholeheartedly.
I was away with the under-19s earlier this week, and whilst in Cardiff we watched the Wales World Cup qualifier when we won 4-0 against Moldova. We also played two friendly games against Iceland who are a tough physical side that we actually learnt a lot from playing against. The Wales manager Chris Coleman actually came to watch, and seeing him there emphasises that if I develop well enough at Arsenal there is a chance I could be involved in future Welsh campaigns.
In the Wales set-up, the younger players feel involved and the fact that our former coach Osian Roberts is now an assistant to Chris Coleman makes us feel even closer.
There is a lot of pride in what Wales achieved last summer, and there is also a lot of optimism for the future. If I can keep improving with Arsenal, hopefully I will one day be a part of that.
There is a good feeling at the under-18s at Arsenal. We won 3-0 away against Brighton and the experience of being involved on a few occasions with the under-18s squad last season has helped me feel settled.
I know what to expect and what is expected of me as it is a big jump from the under-16s to the under-18s. I want to play games consistently at a high level and keep raising the standards of my performances.
When did you first join the Arsenal Academy?
What’s the best aspect of your game?
My passing and intelligence
And what do you still need to work on?
My weak foot, my speed and my power
Which team did you support as a boy?
If you could score any goal from history, which one would it be?
Gareth Bale’s free-kick in the Euros
What’s been the greatest moment in your career so far?
Winning the Victory Shield and the Future Cup
If you had to sing one song to save your life, what would it be?
How To Save A Life by The Fray
What other sports are you good at?
Aside from PE, which was your best subject at school?
Who has the best sense of humour?
Who is the best at FIFA?
Who has the best ball skills?
Who is the best with the ladies?
Josh Benson and me
Who is the worst dressed?
Who has the worst taste in music?
Who is the worst dancer?
Who would be the worst to be stuck on a desert island with?
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