Arsenal announced on Tuesday that Tyreece John-Jules signed professional terms with the club this week, after turning 17 earlier in the month.

John-Jules first joined Arsenal when he was just eight years old. Nine years later, and he’s still with the club signing his first professional contract.

The England u17 international’s rise to the top of the academy has been fairly rapid so far. Last season he only made three appearances for the u18s, but this campaign he’s already up to four starts for the u23s.

Overall he’s made 13 appearances for both academy teams, with nine goals and one assist.

Some of his most impressive displays came in the FA Youth Cup, where he scored the winner against Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool u18s, before adding another in the next round against Middlesbrough. Hopefully he can keep that run going in the quarter-finals.

More than just playing for Arsenal, John-Jules also supports the club. He explained to the official website that he has a family connection, saying: “Yeah, my mum was an Arsenal fan and I just followed that really.”

Unsurprisingly, for an Arsenal supporter from John-Jules’ era, Thierry Henry is his idol. The chance to work with the former striker when he was still working for the club was clearly a positive experience:

“My favourite player is probably Thierry Henry,” the youngster explained. “Growing up, I idolised him because I used to follow him and Arsenal. He only took us for two sessions because I was at Hale End at the time, and then he came up here and started coaching the under-18s.

“Henry taught me about movement and timing, and obviously gave me tips on finishing when we did striker drills. He helped with the timing of my movement and making space for other people.”

Here’s a clip of the striker putting that advice into action for the u18s:

Unfortunately we won’t see John-Jules in action again for a couple of matches, after he picked up a rather harsh red card in the Arsenal u23s’ defeat to Leicester on Monday. When he’s back, I’m sure he’ll be firing in the goals as usual.

If you want to hear more from the young striker, we spoke to him last month about his journey through the academy: