Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun said he was happy to repay the faith of Mikel Arteta by scoring his first senior goal.
The teenager came off the bench against Molde in the Europa League on Thursday for just his second senior appearance. He took no time at all to make an impression, scoring within 37 seconds.
It was the first goal Balogun has scored at senior level for Arsenal – something that may never have happened had he left the club in the summer.
With his contract running down, there had been speculation that he could leave the club. Sheffield United made no secret of their interest in the attacker.
However, Balogun eventually stayed at the Emirates Stadium. He is yet to sign a new deal, but showed what he can bring by scoring with his first involvement against Molde.
It gives Arsenal a big decision to make with the youngster, who is out of contract in 2021. In the meantime, he is happy to be proving himself to Mikel Arteta.
“I’m feeling really happy, it shows that all the hard work I’ve put in over the years is just starting to pay off,” Balogun told Arsenal.com.
“It’s important that I keep working hard to enjoy more moments like this.
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“I didn’t think that particular [break for the goal] was going to be my chance, but I always try to stay ready and I’m happy that on this occasion it paid off.
“It’s been good [to be involved], it’s nice to see the boss showing faith in me. It feels like this is good experience for me.
“I just need to keep on learning, keep on adding to my game and I’m happy that I could contribute.”
Arteta pleased for Balogun
Speaking after the game, Arteta also revealed his delight that Balogun had got on the scoresheet.
“Well deserved for the boy” he said. “He’s working really hard.
“He had some difficult months as well.
“We had some speculation around him. He’s handled the situation in a really mature way.
“He wants to stay, we want him to stay. We gave him the opportunity and he took it straight away.”
Read more from Arteta here…