‘It's a moment I have been waiting for’ – Folarin Balogun revels in Arsenal debut

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Folarin Balogun Arsenal 2019-20
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The Anglo-Nigerian was handed his maiden senior cap in the Gunners’ triumph over Dundalk at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night

Folarin Balogun feels ‘great’ after he played his first game for Arsenal’s first team in Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League defeat of Dundalk.

With victory already guaranteed against the League of Ireland Premier Division side, the 19-year-old forward replaced Eddie Nketiah with 16 minutes left to play.

In the process, Balogun became the 876th player to represent the Emirates Stadium giants in a first-team outing.

Despite playing for limited time, the Anglo-Nigerian showed flashes of brilliance that threw football fans into frenzy on social media.

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“It feels great. It's a moment I have been waiting for a little while so to finally get it feels great,” he told the Arsenal website.

“I can only thank Mikel [Arteta] and the staff for this opportunity and I look forward to doing it more often.

“It's been tough, I've been at a few other clubs doing trials and stuff like that, but I've been working my way through the academy and I think as time has gone on I've become a better player.

“I think that's shown in my performances and I think it's good now to get the recognition that my performances deserve.”

He also revealed what he felt when manager Mikel Arteta told him he was going onto the pitch, while giving a hint of what the fans should expect from him.

“Loads of emotions really,” he continued. “I knew that this was the moment I'd been waiting for but at the same time I knew there was a job that needed to be done.

“So I just tried to come on, make runs, be a nuisance and just help the team.”

Folarin added: “They are going to see lots of energy, and I'd like to say lots of goals.

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“But yeah, I think I'd like to carry my performances from the youth team into the first team. That's what got me here so it's important I carry on playing the way I do.”

Meanwhile, Joe Willock gave an assessment of the Nigeria prospect while disclosing the advice he gave to him.

"I thought he did well," Willock told the Arsenal website. "It's never easy coming on for such a big team and making your debut.

"I thought he did well, he's scoring a lot of goals in the under-23s and that's all he can do.

“I'm happy for him and I congratulated him because I was once in that position. I told him to kick on, keep working hard and that he'd get more opportunities at this club."

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