Arsenal youngster Brooke Norton-Cuffy has admitted he feels ready to challenge for minutes in Mikel Arteta's first team this season.
The 18-year-old spent the second half of last season out on loan with Lincoln City in League One and made a significant impression on those who watched him, with the right-back quickly attracting interest from a number of sides across England.
The Athletic note that Norton-Cuffy has since put pen to paper on a new contract at Arsenal and could spend the remainder of the 2022/23 season on loan with a Championship side, although the youngster has admitted he is feeling good about his chances of making a breakthrough at the Emirates soon.
“It’s impossible to say how close you are,” he told Scouted Football. “All you have to do is keep performing well, keep improving and carrying on your momentum. But I don’t feel far away from knocking at the door – let’s put it that way.
“When you see players who have come all the way through Hale End, it definitely gives you added motivation because you can see yourself in that position. Someone like Bukayo [Saka] especially, he’ll come and talk to you, he’ll always make you feel like you’re on the same level. It’s eye opening to see that pathway but all the guys who have made it, they have sacrificed a lot and it’s not easy.”
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Norton-Cuffy was full of praise for Arsenal's development staff for their close relationship with him during his time with Lincoln.
“Each case is a bit different," he said. "Personally, I have a good relationship with a lot of the staff at Arsenal so we kept in regular contact. They were messaging me about my performances, the sports science guys were always on my back about the gym and making sure I was doing the right exercises.
“Coaches did come down to watch me quite regularly, which you always appreciate when you’re away from the club and they were even giving me tips about opposition wingers, for example, telling me if they liked to cut inside and sending me clips about how to defend against certain players – they were really hands on.”