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 time we spoke to Nathan Tormey:
I have been with Arsenal since joining as an under-12, but I actually began with Tottenham Hotspur. I was picked up by them when I was eight after I went to one of their Soccer Schools. I didn’t tell anyone I was an Arsenal fan for the entire time I was there!
But once I got to under-12s I needed to move and my dad managed to contact someone at the Arsenal training centre to let them know I was available.
I was offered a trial and after a week or so I was an Arsenal schoolboy. I felt at home straight away. Everyone was so welcoming – all the coaches and staff. I did notice a difference in approach straight away, though. At Spurs there was more of an emphasis on running with the ball, whereas at Arsenal it’s more about passing and movement at speed.
As a winger, I felt that the combination of both was ideal and that has been part of my style ever since. I’m quite quick and naturally left-footed, but I play on either flank – although it seems that in football these days, wingers tend to play on the opposite side to where they would expect to, so a left-footer will play on the right and a right-footer on the left.
That encourages interplay, cutting inside, running in between defensive lines and, of course, shooting. My strongest attributes are my speed and my dribbling. I enjoy taking defenders on but unfortunately I haven’t had many opportunities to do it this year.
A week or so into pre-season I felt pain in my back that got worse and worse to the point where it was unbearable. The doctors discovered I had developed a stress fracture in my back, and the only thing I could do initially was rest. It was very disappointing because it was our first year as full-time scholars and there was a lot of excitement in the air. To get injured so early for what would end up being five months
was very upsetting. After allowing the injury to heal, I worked with the physios and sport scientists. I followed the programme that they gave me, and also did some deep water running and then some running on the anti-gravity treadmill, which limits the impact on the joints and back.
After a few weeks I was eventually eased back into training with a ball and with the other lads. I was really anxious to get back in the end. It was quite frustrating to watch everyone else go out and train and play in games and not be able to feel part of it, and I was so looking forward to my first game with the under-18s.
Just before Christmas I was ready and in full training, and I came on as a substitute against Brighton when we got back in the New Year. I was supposed to play the whole of the second half but I pulled my right hamstring and had to go off in the 77th minute.
It was devastating because I was so looking forward to the game. Hopefully I’ll be back very soon though, and I’m looking forward to making the most of the rest of the season so that I can have a good grounding for next term.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
What's the best aspect of your game?
Dribbling and beating players.
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?
If you score any goal from history, which one would it be?
Lionel Messi v Getafe
What's been the greatest moment in your career?
Signing my contract with Arsenal.
What's your most valuable possession?
Aside from PE, what was your best subject at school?
Who has the best sense of humour?
Who is the best at FIFA?
Who has the best engine?
Who has the best turn of pace?
Who has the best ball skills?
Emile Smith Rowe.
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