Reports are out claiming that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised youngster Chuba Akpom after his Man of the Match performance helped the team to victory in the opening game of the preseason.
The 19-year-old scored a hat-trick in the Gunners’ 4-0 victory against a Singapore Select XI on Wednesday and his performance was certainly not lost on Wenger who feels the academy graduate has it in his own hands to force his way into the senior line-up.
When asked about Akpom’s role for next season, Wenger said: “That’s up to him. How much? I don’t know but I just believe that it’s an encouragement to do well and to work even harder.
“He’s a young player and it can lift his confidence. The confidence in the dressing room that you sense from the other players is important as well and that can help him. Let’s not forget it’s a friendly. He’s a good talent but he has to work and show that in [the big] games.”
Akpom spent the second part of last season on loan at Nottingham Forrest, but Wenger has no plans to farm the youngster out this time around: “No. I sent him out on loan last year because I thought he needed that. This pre-season, during the season I plan to keep him with us.”
Arsenal boss remains confident the youngster will get his chance this season: “Yeah, it’s down to performance and attitude. He has that grade to make between being a big talent and after an efficient talent week in, week out. That’s of course the target.”