Nigeria’s Arthur Okonkwo gets promotion to Arsenal first team

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 Arthur Okonkwo has graduated from the Arsenal academy to the first-team squad, thanks to sheer determination.

So how does the 6ft 6in goalkeeper reflect on his rapid rise?

“It’s just surreal,” Okonkwo told Arsenal.com. “To be from the academy to be able to come up to Colney, train, play in the under-18s, train, play in the under-23s and then move up and train with the first team, and then hopefully, one day, make my first-team debut… it’s a great feeling to be here.

“I am very excited to be back, very excited to have signed this new deal and I can’t wait to get training again. I am very thankful for the opportunity the manager has given me and the trust from the staff to be promoted up to the first team.

“Just the other week I couldn’t even imagine being promoted to the first team so this is a big push for me, a new challenge for me. So I am very excited to start.

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“I think short term [my goal] would be getting used to being in the first-team environment, getting used to the players I’m with.

“Then long term I look to do as well as I can with this promotion up to the first team, being the No 3 goalkeeper, and pushing on to be the No 1 goalkeeper one day and the only way I’ll be able to do that is by coming in and working hard every day and that is my biggest ambition for the season.”