Folarin Balogun Arsenal

'Years of hard work now paying off' - Balogun happy after first Arsenal goal

Folarin Balogun has described his first goal for Arsenal as a reward for his years of hard work at the club.

The Nigerian descent came off the bench to seal the Gunners' 3-0 win over Molde in Thursday's Uefa Europa League encounter.

Balogun replaced Eddie Nketiah for his second appearance in the secondary European competition in the 82nd minute and he instantly found the back of the net. 

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A few months ago, the teenage sensation was linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium but he is now excited by the opportunities Arteta is giving him at the club. 

"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 the club website. "It’s important that I keep working hard to enjoy more moments like this.

"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 today."

Balogun's immediate impact at Molde has earned him high praise from teammate Shkodran Mustafi.

The Germany defender described the 19-year-old striker as a "hungry" player who has a bright future ahead of him.

"He’s a very strong and intelligent player. He’s a good striker and he’s hungry," Mustafi said.

"I think at this age in strikers you can always see that hunger to score and they always want to do something in the box, and I think for him it was really nice. He came on in the last game as well and this time it was his first touch he scored with, so I’m very happy for him because I think this is something that is very important.

"We all started as young boys and everyone knows the feeling of how difficult it is to come to the first team and perform the way you perform with the youth team, so we have to give him credit and hope it’s a sign of more coming in the future."