'I am small, but I don't get pushed around', says Arsenal's 5'3" academy product Jernade Meade

 

Jernade Meade insists his fiercely competitive spirit makes up for his lack of height as he targets a third appearance in an Arsenal shirt.

The diminutive left-sided player, who stands only 5'3" tall, will participate in tomorrow's Capital One Cup quarter-final tie at Bradford after making his debut in the same competition in October.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger views him as a fighter and the 20-year-old academy product agrees.

"That is definitely me. I am small, but I don't get pushed around - I don't give up. What I lack in height, I make up for in my drive and my fight," he told the club's programme.

"I feel I can do a job in this position. I'm fast and think I read the game well, although of course I can always improve."

Meade made his first start in last week's 2-1 Champions League defeat by Olympiacos and will receive further exposure against League Two promotion hopefuls Bradford at Valley Parade.

And with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, the versatile Luton-born winger-cum-full-back is hoping to impress Wenger.

"I have mixed emotions because we lost to Olympiacos and that is disappointing, but it was a great feeling to make my first start - beyond words really. It was a big leap," he said.

"At Reading I came on for extra-time, but I would not have expected to play in the Champions League so soon.

"I grew in confidence as the match wore on and I can do better but hopefully I will get more chances.

"Hopefully the boss will have me in his thoughts for Bradford. I would love to do that, but it is all down to him.

"I need to get my name out there, get people watching me and maybe I can go out on loan soon as well to build up my experience.

"I have so much to improve on, but hopefully the boss sees something in me. This is the last year of my contract and hopefully I can earn another one."

Wenger, who will field his second string against Bradford, has been pleased with Meade's transition into the first team.

"Jernade has his first start at left-back against Olympiacos and had a particularly good first half," Wenger said.

"Coming up from the under-21s, it is a massive change in the intensity of every fight. I was pleased with Jernade's attitude and the face that he was not fazed.

"The first time he received the ball, he cut inside when he was closed down and played a pass. He has potential, for sure."

PA

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