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 speak to defender Jordi Osei-Tutu.
Things are going really well for me. I signed a three-year extension to my contract last season and we went on to win the Premier League 2 title!
The first contract is a real thrill to get, but the second one is always the one that has more significance, because it means that you are a step nearer the first team. It’s a big confidence boost for me that the club has shown such belief in me. The coaches have always encouraged me to keep working hard on developing my game and that if I do that I’ll see the dividends.
I certainly won’t be relaxing though! My new contract is massive for me but ultimately the aim is to get into the first team. That’s what I’m working towards and I hope to be involved more often. I’ve travelled with the first team and made the bench against Red Star Belgrade in Serbia and for the Carabao Cup match versus Norwich last season. I learnt a lot from the times I’ve trained with the players too.
I’m working especially hard on improving my one-on-one defending. Being up against the likes of Alexis Sanchez last season and Alex Iwobi has helped me immensely. Obviously I spend a lot of time working with players in the under-23s. There’s a lot of attacking talent who are a good test for anyone and we all help each other improve.
I also look to learn from established players too and aside from the players at Arsenal, I also like the way that Antonio Valencia performs in the role. He was a winger with Wigan when he first joined Manchester United, but he is very strong in the right-back role now, both in defence and attack. I like the way that he’s very direct.
I’ve been playing more often as a wing back and pushing up the field a little more than I would as a right back. It allows you to be more involved in attack as there is an extra centre back to cover. There are many players looking to play in the under-23s and so the team changes a lot.
Good players learn to adapt so it doesn’t matter who is in front, behind or inside me when I play, we all have good relationships and understand each other. I think that’s why the under-23s performed so well last year. We’re getting stronger and stronger in our performances.
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