by Lee Hurley
Arsene Wenger believes that the role Chuba Akpom plays with the club this season is up to him.
The youngster started Arsenal’s first game of pre-season against a Singapore Select XI on Wednesday and promptly grabbed himself a hattrick in the 4-0 win.
Signing a new deal last season after being courted by a number of the top clubs around Europe, Akpom decided to stay at Arsenal after reassurances from the boss.
With Lukas Podolski already gone, Yaya Sanogo looking like he will leave on loan and Joel Campbell’s future far from clear, Chubs has a great chance to make in-roads into the first team.
Speaking to the press after the win, Arsene was naturally asked about the role Chuba would play.
“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.”
Wenger was also asked if the youngster would be sent out on loan, and replied “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.
“Yeah [he will get a chance], 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.”