Sanchez Watt has vowed to put the sound advice of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry to good use by helping fire the young Gunners to Carling Cup glory. The 18-year-old forward was part of a youthful Arsenal XI which saw off the challenge of 10-man West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night, opening his account for the senior team in the second half.
London-born Watt has come through the Gunners ranks, learning all he can from the likes of Henry, who left for Barcelona in 2007, as well as current attack-minded players like Robin van Persie and the Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin.
After being an integral part of the successful 2008-2009 FA Youth Cup side last season, Watt has set his sights on an extended run in Wenger's young team, which last season reached the Carling Cup quarter-finals.
"I was here when Thierry was here, and although I did not get to play with him, I still asked him questions off the pitch when he was free about how it was and stuff like that," said Watt, who had been named on the bench for last week's Champions League Group H opener away to Standard Liège. "Not many people get the chance to ask players like that, so I just took it as a good chance.
"I was not nervous because when we were growing up, our manager told us you can ask them questions. Thierry said: 'Be calm in front of goal and when the ball is moving, you don't have to keep making long runs. Make it short and sharp and just take it from there'."
Watt added: "There are a lot of players here I have watched like Henry, [Emmanuel] Adebayor, Van Persie, Arshavin – there are many players here I look up to and I even ask questions, they tell me positioning and other things to help me keep learning."
With Wenger set to continue his policy of blooding youngsters in the Carling Cup, Watt hopes to be at the forefront of the Arsenal boss' mind. "This is one of the times when you have to push on," said Watt, who started his football at the Senrab club in east London, which boasts the likes of England duo John Terry and Jermain Defoe among its former players.
"This is where the youngsters have the chance to show what they can do and you have to take the chance. There are many strikers here but as long as I show what I can do, that's the best you can do and there is nothing to worry about. As long as you keep doing well and give the manager no choice, he has to play you. I am getting used to it and going with the flow."
England Under-21 midfielder Jack Wilshere, meanwhile, has already experienced first-team action in the Premier League, FA Cup and Europe as well. The 17-year-old was involved in something of a controversial incident on Tuesday night, being pushed in the face by Jerome Thomas when the pair clashed after a tackle.
Wenger, though, prefers to focus on the positive side to the young midfielder's game. "Jack has something which is very difficult to give to players – no matter how big the game is he takes the ball and takes people on," the Arsenal manager said.
"He still sometimes has a little lack of experience in his decision-making, but you see there is something special there."
Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, 19, impressed on his first-team debut, and could even be in contention to oust Vito Mannone should regular No 1 Manuel Almunia fail to recover from a virus in time to face Fulham in the Premier League at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
"I liked his performance," said the French manager. "He was a great, great prospect, but then last year he broke both arms in the gym, when the bar fell on him. He has a presence, he has a charisma, a calmness, and you see straight away there is quality there."Reuse content