Julio Pleguezuelo has admitted that after making his debut for the Arsenal first team against Blackpool on Wednesday, he’s already eyeing another opportunity in the North London derby next round.
Over five years after joining Arsenal’s academy from Barcelona back in 2013, Pleguezuelo finally made his senior debut for the side this week. In between, he spent time playing for Mallorca and Gimnastic on loan, but this was his first chance to play for the Gunners, in front of the home fans at the Emirates Stadium
The centre-back didn’t make any secret of his excitement after the League Cup clash.
“I couldn’t be any happier, I’m buzzing,” he said. “I tried to stay calm. I knew this was a very big chance for me. It doesn’t happen every day that you play for Arsenal’s first team. I just tried to do everything simple and play for the result.”
Arsenal then drew Tottenham Hotspur in the next round, and Pleguezuelo told the media he’d relish the chance to feature again in the one.
“I’d love to play that (the North London derby),” he admitted. “As I said, I have to keep working and see if I can get another shot.”
Pleguezuelo has already proven this season that he knows exactly what the North London derby is all about.
For those of you who don’t follow the academy games, the defender faced Tottenham in a match back in August. Arsenal came out 2-1 winners, but there was plenty of drama at the end of the game when a Tottenham man was involved in a confrontation with the u23 captain.
Troy Parrott and Pleguezuelo had already been involved in a number of duels throughout the match. The Arsenal man kept coming out on top, having little digs at Parrott and getting him more and more frustrated.
In the end, Parrott shoved Pleguezuelo to the ground, off the ball, after losing his temper. The referee brandished a red card and Arsenal won the match. Job done.
Back to Wednesday, and the Spanish centre-back had some words of thanks for Arsenal’s head coach, Unai Emery. Emery had promised the 21-year-old that his chance would come if he kept working hard and, against Blackpool, he kept that promise.
“I have had a few chats with him during the season,” Pleguezuelo said. “He told me to keep working as I had with the Under 23s and my chance would come. Fair play to him, he gave me that chance. I’m so happy and thank him very much for that.”