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 Xavier Amaechi.
I have been with Arsenal since I was 12 years old, but my first club was actually Fulham. I was spotted by them playing for my Sunday side in Bushey, where I lived. They said that they were attracted to my speed and dribbling.
I learnt a lot while at Fulham and am grateful for the work the coaches did for me, but when Arsenal came in to sign me I had no choice. Our whole family are Arsenal mad! Everyone was so happy when Alan Knowles scouted me and asked me to join. Alan told us that he had been watching me for about a year.
I settled in very quickly. The training at Hale End was superb and my new team-mates were all top-quality players. I learnt a lot over that time and pushed on well to the point that I first became involved in the under-18s when I was 15. I also featured from the start in a 4-1 win over Liverpool when I was an under-16 schoolboy player.
I believe that experience helped me get a good grounding for my challenge now as a scholar. I got an insight as to the standard and what was required. I’m working hard on adding more goals and assists to my game because that is how we are judged as attacking midfielders. I tend to play on the wing and I would say I’m an Arjen Robben-style player.
My proudest moment in football so far, apart from joining Arsenal and being offered a scholarship, was when I was voted Player of The Tournament in the San Bonifacio Cup the other season. We were involved with Real Madrid, Flamenco, Juventus and Atalanta. As a team we only finished fifth and that was disappointing, but the fact that despite that I received that honour made me really proud.
It normally goes to a player who got to the final or scored loads of goals. I didn’t do either, but the judges said they were impressed with my contribution, skills and influence on games. It was a massive confidence boost for me and I was very proud.
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