Gedion Zelalem says he’ll return to pre-season training determined to break into the Arsenal first team.
Fresh from being granted U.S. citizenship the midfielder has spent the last two weeks representing his adopted country at the under-20 World Cup in New Zealand where his performances caught the eye.
Ultimately the USA went out on penalties to Serbia at the quarter-final but the competition has left Zelalem in high spirits. “It’s a great tournament,” he told FIFA.com of the under-20 finals.
“You look at the likes of [Lionel] Messi playing in it back in 2005 and you know the history it has. He won it though and I wanted to do the same!
“Being here with the boys has been great and it’s definitely given me a taste for playing in these kind of events. I think there’s a few guys in this squad, myself included, who could be in the senior squad for the next World Cup and that has to be our aim.”
Of his aims for the forthcoming Premier League season he continued: “I’m going to go back for pre-season and try to get into the first team and play some games.
“If I can do that, great. If not, I’ll look to get out on loan somewhere. It’s a dream come true to be at a club like Arsenal and I want to get into the first team this season, play minutes and start matches.
“I have high expectations of myself and if I was to be starting week in, week out, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Given the midfield options at Arsene Wenger’s disposal it’s going to take something special for Zelalem to feature regularly in the coming six months. A run in the League Cup could help his cause before a loan in the second half of the season. It’s a path trodden by many a youth prospect…