Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem aiming for regular starting role next season

Gedion Zelalem

The US Under-20 international has high expectations for himself for the 2015-16 campaign.

Arsenal teenager Gedion Zelalem has told FIFA.com that he would not be surprised if he was starting “week in, week out” for the first-team next season.

Zelalem, 18, has been billed has one of Arsenal’s most exciting talents ever since joining the club in 2013, having received comparisons to former captain Cesc Fabregas while coming up through the ranks.

However, the Berlin-born midfielder has made just two senior cameos over the past 18 months and faces a tough task in earning regular minutes with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere all blocking his path.

The ex-German Under-17 international is not at all deterred, though, and, while he is open to spending the 2015-16 campaign out on loan, believes he can push himself into Arsene Wenger’s immediate plans with an impressive pre-season.

"I'm going to go back for pre-season and try to get into the first team and play some games," said Zelalem. "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."

Zelalem’s comments came after his USA side’s Under-20 World Cup campaign was ended at the quarter-final stage on the weekend following a narrow 6-5 defeat on penalties to Serbia, in which the Gunners starlet went the full preceding scoreless 120 minutes before dispatching his spot-kick.

Having completed his one-time international switch to the States mere weeks before the tournament, the skilful midfielder’s four starts and one substitute appearance were the first time most had seen him in extended action and, having earned impressive reviews, he was pleased overall with how things went in New Zealand.

"It's a great tournament," he said. "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," he continued. "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."

With US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann declaring him good enough to walk straight into the senior squad back in March, he could be making that step up sooner rather than later.

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