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George Lewis identifies the crucial Arsenal figure behind his strong start

George Lewis says Nicolas Pepe has been “like a big brother” and helped him settle in as he enjoys an impressive start to life at Arsenal.

Rwanda-born Lewis joined Arsenal on a free transfer earlier this summer having previously played in the lower leagues of Norwegian football with Fram Larvik.

Initially brought in to play for Arsenal’s Under-23 side hopes are high for Lewis, who has regularly trained with Mikel Arteta’s first team and featured in the pre-season match against MK Dons.

With Steve Bould’s side his impact has been immediate, following a goal in a friendly against Tottenham with a composed finish in his first professional game in English football, a 2-1 win for Arsenal’s Under-21s over Ipswich Town in the EFL Trophy.

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Speaking after the game to Norwegian publication iTromso Lewis was at pains to credit Arsenal’s record signing with making him feel at home.

“Pepe’s become a really good friend and is like a big brother to me,” he said. “Of course, there are other players I get along with too, but most of all it’s Pepe. First of all, he’s a really good guy.

“He’s also a phenomenal footballer and we’re quite similar people on and off the pitch, so he’s really helped me settle here. That we both speak French also helps a lot.”

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Lewis’ goal proved vital in ensuring that Arsenal’s youth players began their new season in style. A strong Ipswich side who are among the bookmakers’ favourites for promotion to the Championship this season took the lead when Jon Nolan turned in Alan Judge’s cross but Arsenal’s new signing Lewis struck just before the interval.

The Gunners then went on to impose themselves in the second half, Folarin Balogun converting after a fine through ball from Ben Cottrell whilst Miguel Azeez and Salah-Eddine went close to adding to Arsenal’s lead.