Maanum: "This is the place where I can develop"

Frida Maanum has officially put pen to paper on a new deal, committing her future to Arsenal. 

Our Norwegian midfielder has enjoyed a breakout season in the red and white, a powerful presence in midfield and attack with 16 goals and six assists across all competitions. 

When asked about her decision to stay in north London, Frida said: "I love Arsenal. I feel like this is the place where I can develop and learn from the players around me and take steps both on and off the pitch.

"That was the right decision for me. I've enjoyed my time here for two years and I can't wait to stay here longer."

Our 23-year-old midfielder joined in the summer of 2021 from Swedish club Linkoping and immediately made an impact, featuring in our opening league win over Chelsea at Emirates Stadium and scoring a wonder goal against Everton soon after. 

Having now signed a fresh contract, Frida looked back over the journey she's taken with our club and how much she's developed already.

"I feel like I've changed since I came here. Moving to Sweden was hard but then moving to England was probably even harder. But I've learned a lot in the last two years and I've really enjoyed it.

"Coming as a young player was hard in the beginning but then I feel like the mental side of it was really important as well. For me personally, it's just about trying to keep my head in the game and that's what I've been trying to do."

A place in the starting XI didn't come overnight for Frida, whose dedication and evolution on the pitch last season set her up to become one of our most important players this season.

"I would put it down to hard work. It was hard during the months when I didn't play but then I still tried to work hard in training and work on the details to get better and learn from the others in the team.

"I think that's why I got my turning point."

That aforementioned watershed moment for Frida came in the Champions League as we faced the reigning champions, Lyon, away from home.

"I didn't play much before that match but when I did, it was in my favourite number 10 role as well. I remember beforehand that I was a little nervous, but not too much because I just wanted to take the chance."

Our Norwegian midfielder also got her first taste of silverware in March as we defeated long-time rivals Chelsea 3-1 to lift the Conti Cup trophy. 

"It means a lot to win things and to win the Continental Cup final, especially against Chelsea, we all know that's a lovely feeling. I think the team needed it too - that was one of the highest moments this season."

"The injuries are always sad, but the group has coped with it very well. We have just tried to push together all the way, all the way through the season."

On an individual level, Frida's spectacular top-corner strike against Bayern Munich not only secured our place in the Champions League semi-finals but also cemented itself as a highlight reel favourite. 

"I'd describe that goal as pretty high in the season for me personally! It was the atmosphere at Emirates Stadium, the supporters were there and the feeling when that goal went back in the net was just amazing.

"I feel like in training, I'd been banging the ball 10 metres over the goal! So there's been that side of it as well where I've had to practice and learn how to finish the way I do now."

As our squad has still managed to achieve progress in the wake of huge injuries, Frida can't wait for what the future holds once everyone is back where they belong on the pitch. 

"We'll be dangerous when the whole team is fit again. We have such good players now who are injured and when they come back and add to the squad we have right now, I think that will be really exciting."

To hear the full interview with Frida, click the play button above.

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