Serge Gnabry says he is proud of how far Hector Bellerin, Chuba Akpom and himself have come since playing together for Arsenal’s academy at the age of 16.
The German forward broke into the first team last season and, although he has been sidelined for much of this campaign, he has enjoyed watching his friends' careers blossom.
Akpom is the latest academy product to move into the first-team changing room, and Gnabry recalled how he felt when he officially became part of Arsene Wenger’s squad.
"It’s all you’ve been dreaming about, you’re just hoping for it to come one day and now it’s finally arrived"
“Vic [Akers] the kit man came over to me while I was in the gym and told me to go with him,” he told Arsenal Player. “I walked alongside him not knowing anything that’s going on and he surprised me by taking me into the first-team changing room and showed me the locker.
“He said, ‘that’s your place now’. I was kind of surprised, shocked and I didn’t think about it on the morning I came in, it was just another day focusing on training. It’s been really exciting and I’m happy to be in the first-team dressing room now.
“[Hector, Chuba and I] have come a long way. We started here when we were 16 - that was three years ago and I still remember the time when I walked into the other side of the building.
“It’s all you’ve been dreaming about, you’re just hoping for it to come one day and now it’s finally arrived, for me it’s excitement. Now you’ve just got to go out and show what you can do.
“We’ve all seen that Hector’s shown what he’s capable of at first-team level whereas a couple of months ago nobody would have spoken about him. I’m really happy for him, he’s one of my closest friends and so is Chuba, so I’m very happy that the three of us have made that step together.”