Kieran Gibbs says playing in the Youth Cup was a vital stepping stone for his Arsenal career.
The under-18s take on Everton in the quarter-finals of the competition at Emirates Stadium tonight as they look to emulate the success of the 2009 side.
"You get to realise what it's like playing in front of big crowds and taking part in a big competition"
Gibbs played and scored in Arsenal's semi-final defeat to Manchester United back in 2007 and remembers the excitement he felt playing in front of big crowds in the latter stages of the competition.
"I remember one year specifically we had a good run and a really strong team," Gibbs told Arsenal Player. "We were probably a bit over-convinced that we was going to win it. We were knocked out of the semi-final by Man United at Old Trafford in the second leg.
"I think we were 3-1 up and in the last 10 minutes of the game they managed to get it to extra time and then they nicked a last-minute goal.
"The Youth Cup was a great experience especially when you're young, with the chance to take part in a good competition. I think it's vital for your development.
"It was a really exciting time for all the players. You get to realise what it's like playing in front of big crowds and taking part in a big competition.
"It's nice if you're a Youth Cup winner to have that under your belt before you start your career."
Tickets will be available for the game priced at £4 adults and £2 for concessions from the Arsenal Box Office, subject to availability.
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