Arsenal youngster admits he has learnt so much from having to mark this senior star in training

Arsenal

Gunners teenager Kris Da Graca has enjoyed the challenge of coming up against Danny Welbeck on the training field.

Arsenal youngster Kris Da Graca has told the club's official website that the experience of being asked to mark Danny Welbeck in training has improved him as a player.

The teenager has been playing regularly with the club's under-21s side this season and has also been called up to feature for Sweden's under-17s team against Romania earlier this year.

Da Graca is one of a number of youth talents to have been invited by Arsene Wenger to train with the first team on occasion throughout the campaign as the Gunners boss cast his eye over the next generation at the Emirates.

The young defender revealed to the club's website that he can already tell that the experience has improved him as a player, particularly because he was tasked with the difficult job of keeping Danny Welbeck quiet on the field.

Da Graca told the club's official website: "Playing regularly with the under-21s has been a big help because the level is that much higher and coming up against more experienced strikers has helped my development.

"I have also trained four times with the first team and have invariably marked Danny Welbeck who is a difficult player to defend against. He is powerful, quick and technically good. I really enjoyed the experience and learnt so much and I saw the improvement from the first training session to the last one.

"The sessions with the first team really accelerate your development because the tempo and accuracy of everything they do is at a higher level I feel that with the help of my team mates and coaches I have improved my understanding of the game, my passing and strength."

Da Graca will be hoping to be the next big thing to follow in the footsteps of players such as Alex Iwobi in making the step up from youth to senior level over the next few years.

He will have been given a taste of what life is like in the Premier League by marking a player with such pedigree as Welbeck, with the striker having scored nearly 50 goals in over 200 games in top-level English football.

Since returning from a long-term injury in mid-February, Welbeck has scored four goals in 10 appearances for the Gunners and has moved ahead of Olivier Giroud in the attacking pecking order.

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