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Cohen Bramall exclusive: Colchester, Wenger & what Arsenal pals say about Arteta

Cohen Bramall says Colchester United has become his "foundation" after a series of loan spells away from his old club Arsenal.

Speaking with Tribal Football, Bramall reflected on his spell in north London before looking to the future with the promotion chasing Colchester in League Two.

The Essex club have already hit the headlines this season thanks to a run to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup, where they were eventually knocked out by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Colchester beat Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace along the way too, but have also maintained their form and sit fifth in the League Two table.

"We had a good couple of games against Tottenham and Palace, but playing at Old Trafford was a dream come true for me as a boyhood Manchester United fan," Bramall told Tribal Football.

"Overall, I think we managed ourselves well, but I think we should be higher in the league. We are more than capable of getting promoted and to be honest the Cup run was a big confidence booster for the whole squad."

Bramall joined Arsenal from non-league Hednesford Town in 2017 but never made a senior appearance for the Gunners.

He spent a brief spell on loan with Birmingham in 2018 before leaving the club on a permanent basis this summer.

"I am focusing on Colchester and getting promoted with the team," Bramall said.

"That is what I care about and that is the goal. For sure it is nice to have a permanent home at Colchester. But I still learned a lot at Birmingham City, made around eight appearances and overall it was a good experience. Colchester now feels like a foundation for me and I feel like I am now doing what I do best."

Despite things not working out totally as planned for Bramall at Arsenal, he still looks back fondly on his time a London Colney.

"I came from non-league, where any kid would want to play professional football," he said.

"Never mind one of the biggest clubs in the world. It was a great experience and Arsene Wenger took me under his wing and it was a dream come true."

Arsenal are currently going through one of their worst ever seasons, but Bramall said the arrival of Mikel Arteta has been a real boost for the squad.

"I still speak to some of the lads and it is just nice to see them smiling again", he explained.

"They may have had a few draws since Arteta arrived but you can see their whole style of play has improved. I know Ainsley [Maitland-Niles], Reiss [Nelson], Bukayo [Saka] and Joe Willock and it is great to see that they have been given a chance. I am happy for the boys and it is really nice to see them progressing and doing well."

One player Bramall singled out for praise was Maitland-Niles, who has been forced to play out of position for most of his fledgling Gunners career.

Bramall said that if he gets a chance in his preferred position, he could really surprise observers.

"Ainsley has done really well playing out of position because he is very versatile, but he is not a right-back he is a centre midfielder," he said.

"When people see him there they will see a new side to him and I hope he gets that chance."

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