This season has gone well for me so far, although the big disappointment was going out to Blackburn Rovers at home in the FA Youth Cup. It was a game that, if it were 11 v 11, we would have won comfortably and they knew it.
It’s a valuable lesson to us all to ensure that you have to do everything to keep your cool and remain professional, as teams and players will try to provoke a reaction.
Getting a red card just 22 minutes into the game made it difficult for us. We tried hard and created enough chances to win but we just couldn’t convert them. They converted a set-play late in the game and we couldn’t recover. We were all deeply disappointed, especially as we were all focused on going all the way in the competition this year after failing to get through the group stage in the UEFA Youth League. That was another story of missed opportunities, especially losing 2-1 at home to Basel and drawing at Ludogorets.
But just as winning tournaments and trophies helps you in the future, I think there’s also a lot to learn from this year’s disappointment in the FA Youth Cup and Youth League. They’re lessons that will stay with us and that we’ll learn from, and we’ll have opportunities again in the future where we will put things right. Learn not to react, whatever the provocation and however difficult it is to control yourself in the heat of the moment. It’s not just in tournaments – I firmly believe that, especially at our level, there’s something to be learned from every game you lose. Sometimes there are more lessons to learn from one game than another but we definitely learn from every defeat and I always try to use whatever that is to help turn a loss into a win next time out.
I’m back in Holland now with my family and enjoying being with them at Christmas. Just like in England, the Christmas atmosphere is all around and being with family is the most important thing, especially for me as I haven’t seen them as much this year.
I’m relaxing and recharging my batteries but I’m keeping to the programme given to me by the sports scientist to ensure that when I return to England in January I’m ready to continue in the best possible way.
I know that Christmas is a time when there’s food and drink all around, but it’s my job to keep myself in the best condition I can be in, and that’s not an issue for me or anyone around me. I’m at a tremendous club in Arsenal and my focus at all times is becoming the best player I can be.
I’m asked if I’m working on any particular part of my game and my answer is no. I work on everything. I try to improve in every way – every aspect of what’s needed for me as a striker or a winger – and that’s what drives me and gives me a lot of enjoyment.
I’m also asked if there’s any player I look to learn from and my answer is again no. I look to learn from so many – it’s not just Messi, but also Lukaku, Suarez, Giroud
and Alexis. There are aspects of the game that these players excel in that I work to improve in mine.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
What's the best aspect of your game?
And what do you still need to work on?
Which team did you support as a boy?
Who did you pretend to be in the playground?
Which current player would you most like to play against?
If you could score any goal from history, which one would it be?
Dennis Bergkamp for Arsenal at Newcastle
If you had to sing one song to save your life, what would it be?
Rihanna - Work
What other sports are you good at?
Who has the best sense of humour?
Who is the best at FIFA?
Who has the best turn of pace?
Who has the best ball skills?
Best with the ladies?
Kris Da Graca.
Worst taste in music?
Kris Da Graca.
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