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​Arteta makes promise to Balogun, Okonkwo over Arsenal involvement

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has made a promise to youngsters Folarin Balogun and Arthur Okonkwo.

The Gunners have been known for giving youth team products, such as Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock, a chance in the first team.

Now Okonkwo and Balogun are emerging as talents among the next generation, and their manager believes they will get plenty of chances to show their quality.

Speaking to Arsenal's website, Arteta said: "It is great, it is just a small step [being a part of preseason matches], but now the bigger step is trying to become a regular in the first team. That is a small step compared to the next step they have to take.

"That is the first thing they have to realise, the hard work is not done yet. The hard work is going to start right now, and the expectations start right now and if they have this mentality they have the potential, we believe in them and they will have the opportunities."

He added: "Both of them are really different but at the same time very similar.

"They have both raised the level of the academy to a point that it wasn't any more for them so we had to look to create the space around the first team for them to be able to develop in the way that we want them to."

He finished: "I think they are the right age and they have the space in the squad to do that and they have the hunger and they showed the desire to stay at the football club and fight to become one of the first-team regulars."

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Freddie Taylor

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