Arsenal's Chuba Akpom reveals what's prepared him for Premier League football

The teenage striker believes his east London upbringing has been the perfect preparation for the rigours of the English top-flight.

Arsenal striker Cuba Akpom has told the club’s official website that his competitive upbringing is what will help him become a Gunners great.

Akpom, 19, has become a regular fixture on the first-team bench in recent months after earning his senior debut last season, making seven total appearances, including a telling contribution in the 5-0 win over Aston Villa after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute to win Santi Cazorla’s spot-kick.

The England Under-20 international’s contract was set to expire in the summer, with the likes of the Mirror reporting recent interest from Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, but speculation was ended earlier this month when he put pen to paper on a new deal until 2019.

Now looking to continue pushing towards a more regular role under Arsene Wenger after brief loan spells at Brentford and Coventry City last season, the promising front man believes his experiences growing up in east London have prepared him well for the pressures of Premier League football.

“When we used to play football you wanted to win otherwise there would be a scrap, there would be something going on, so I’ve a strong mentality,” he said. “I’m super, super competitive and it’s good to have a winning mentality. Anything you want to do, if you put your mind to it and work hard, you can do it.

“You’ve got to have that belief in yourself. I love the saying ‘you are what you believe’. If you believe you’re a champion, you’re going to train like a champion. You’re going to run like a champion and do everything like a champion. It’s like an extra boost.

“From training through the reserves and playing matches with the reserves, you’re playing at the Emirates in front of 60,000 fans. It’s a really big step, then you’ve got people watching on TV and it’s global. Everyone’s watching so it’s a lot of pressure but you’ve got to do it, it’s got to be done.”

Having now moved into the first-team changing room, Akpom is still searching for his first senior goal but, with his minutes set to increase over the coming months, it shouldn’t be long before he opens his Arsenal account.

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