One of the positives coming out of the Emirates cup this past weekend was the performance of Arsenal youngster Benik Afobe, who came on as a substitute for Jack Wilshere after he limped off inside the first 7 minutes against the New York Red Bulls.
The 18-year-old striker was surprised that he featured so early in the game against New York. The youngster stated:
‘I wasn’t really prepared for it, but I went on and all the nerves just went away.’
Afobe, who spent last season on loan at Huddersfield Town, came on and showed some signs of confidence and technique – he played well and did everything that was asked of him.
In what was his debut for the club last Sunday, the forward managed to play 67 minutes and has given Wenger a lot to think about in the upcoming season.
Afobe spoke about his future and seems to have a very good head on his shoulders. He said:
‘My aim is to play for Arsenal’s first team, I’m not thinking too far beyond that but we will have to see what the boss thinks is best for me. When the pre-season games are finished we will talk about what is going to happen with me. I’m delighted with how the pre-season has gone so far.’
Is he ready to get into the side week in week out? Sadly, I don’t believe he is…yet. However, I think he deserves to have a run of games this season, maybe in the Carling Cup and in the early stages of FA Cup, just so that he can prove his worth, as I think this will help with his nerves and also allow him to build on his debut for the club.
It is widely known that Arsene Wenger is a fan of Afobe and has managed to keep him at the club despite previous interest from Barcelona, who tried to sign him just before his 17th birthday.
Although I don’t believe he is ready for the first-team, the youngster is definitely one to watch for the future. I have seen and read numerous articles about the youngster and it’s pretty obvious that this will not be the last we hear of Afobe.