In Young Guns, featured first in the official matchday programme, we find out about the next generation of Arsenal youngsters, in their own words. Next, we speak to forward Sam Greenwood.
I was both excited and apprehensive about coming down from Sunderland to join Arsenal. Leaving my town, friends and family was quite daunting, it felt like a big task, but I was keen to push myself and now that I’m here I feel fully settled.
Even where I live in digs in St Albans, it feels busier than back home. I live in the home of our landlady Rachel with Alfie Matthews, who is also a scholar. That’s been a big help because we talk about all things football and support each other. I’m very much enjoying being at a big club like Arsenal. It’s a big challenge for me and I’m relishing it. I’m at a club where I feel I can take myself to a new level.
The first thing that struck me was that the club deals with every aspect. It’s not just the coaches and training that are a cut above, but the attention to detail such as diet, gym programmes, conditioning etc. The players in the under-18 squad are also at a higher standard and we play in a way that I like: fast passing football where we like to control possession. I feel that as a group we are getting better and better.
I also recently scored my first goal for Arsenal against Southampton which has given me a massive boost. It was a well-worked goal. I was on the edge of the box. The corner was floated to me, I took a touch and then shot into the bottom-left corner.
I’m feeling very confident at the moment and scoring my first goal for the club was a real thrill – it was in front of my dad too, and he comes to watch every game, so he was really pleased. The highlight of my career so far has been playing for England and only recently I went away on a tournament with England Under-17s, which we won.
It was in Poland and we beat Norway 5-0 and I scored one goal, then I got an assist when we beat Portugal. We then met Belgium in the final and beat them 6-2. I was happy that I scored one and made an assist too to help us lift the trophy. The standard of our national teams is rising all the time. I came back to Arsenal with a spring in my step and I’ve retained that positivity since.
I’m a striker and can play on my own in attack or slightly behind. I’ve got decent pace and like to come in and drive towards goal from the wings.
I’m working on improving every aspect of my game, including shooting, heading and passing, but I’m concentrating most on my positioning and movement. When we play a three-man attack at Arsenal, how we all interact and move on the pitch is vital. Positioning and movement as a three is something we work on to make it smooth and natural, making sure we don’t all take the same line.
I’ve set myself a target of doing well in the under-18s to help the team perform well and win trophies, but I also want to feature in the under-23s if possible. I always feel I’m better when I push myself and set targets. In the under-23s you play with and against older experienced players and I see that as both a challenge and a big learning opportunity.
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