Chuba Akpom has said he is keen to repay Arsene Wenger’s faith in him as Arsenal prepare for their FA Cup tie with Middlesbrough this weekend.
Akpom has developed into a fully fledged member of the squad this season with Wenger choosing to send out on-loan the likes of Podolski, Sanogo and Campbell to give the English youngster a better run at the first team.
An opportunity Akpom says he is eager to take in this weekend’s fifth round FA Cup tie following on from two substitute appearances earlier in the competition.
“The season so far has been great and I’m really enjoying it,” said Akpom to The FA’s official website.
“It’s the oldest competition in English football, and there’s a lot of history behind it. So to be able to get a few chances to perform in the Cup this season has been really special.
“Now it’s about working hard, training well and just getting more game-time under my belt.”
Akpom has been with the club since the age of six and despite rumours earlier this year that he could leave due to lack of playing time, the boyhood Gunner committed himself to a new Arsenal contract last week.
The 19 year old has seen a steady progression in minutes throughout the season, and was given his most time in an Arsenal shirt in his recent appearance against Aston Villa where he was impressive, even winning a penalty.
Against Middlesbrough, he could start from the off – but the teenager hardly seems phased.
“For Arsene Wenger to send other strikers out and to keep me with the first team shows that he has got a lot of trust in me – and I’m grateful for that.
“Now it’s all about repaying that faith and getting minutes on the pitch under my belt.
“I’m in the squad now. I’m in the changing room, training with the first-team squad every day.
“Now it’s a case of making the next step from first-team squad to first team.
“That’s what I’m working towards.”