Former Arsenal centre-back Martin Keown believes striker Folarin Balogun will have forced his way into Mikel Arteta’s thoughts for Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Emirates Stadium.
The 19-year-old, who was heavily linked with an exit from the north London club during the summer transfer window, stepped off the bench to net his first Gunners goal during Thursday evening’s 3-0 win against Molde in the UEFA Europa League.
With the tie all but sealed thanks to quick-fire goals from Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal boss, felt it was safe enough to hand a second senior appearance to Balogun, who last featured in the 3-0 win over Dundalk last month.
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And less than 60 seconds after coming on, the striker was celebrating his first senior goal as he connected with Emile Smith Rowe’s square ball, turned and fired the ball home.
As expected, the youngster was mobbed by his team-mates and Arteta applauded from the touchline.
Having stepped off the bench and made it clear to everyone what he is capable off, former Gunners man Keown believes he has given Arteta “food for thought” ahead of Sunday’s clash with Wolves.
“Balogun was a young player that’s come on, so we know that he’s going to be a good talent, but we haven’t seen that much of him,” Keown told BT Sport. “A great moment for him.
“That makes it more obvious for Arteta, the quality that he’s got, and if other teams are trying to take away his best players, how about Arsenal developing those and giving them the pathway into the first-team?
“They can see that, the youngsters can see that. Now, it’s about – can they be in the first 11?
“We’re saying this is the B team, almost, can they break into that…