Arsenal's Folarin Balogun sends message to Mikel Arteta after England U21 goal

Folarin Balogun has prompted more questions over his future at Arsenal after making it clear he wants to be playing regular first-team football, whether with the Gunners or elsewhere.

The 20-year-old started up front in Arsenal’s opening game of the Premier League season against Brentford and then came off the bench against Chelsea a week later, but has not made the squad for a league match since then.

He was also an unused substitute in the Carabao Cup fourth-round victory over Leeds United, while he was handed just a seven-minute cameo on the wing against Wimbledon in the previous round.

Despite being offered first-team assurances by Mikel Arteta before signing his new contract, Balogun has largely been limited to games for Arsenal’s Under-23 development side.

Even though the youngster has played little senior football in his career so far, he was selected for England’s Under-21 side and gave an excellent display against the Czech Republic, netting his first goal for the Young Lions.

Under-21 boss Lee Carsley said afterwards that Balogun had outgrown youth football and now the forward himself has delivered a similar message, saying he needs regular game time and would look to leave Arsenal on loan if Arteta cannot find more minutes for him.

‘I have played youth football for a little while, I have obviously scored a lot of goals at that level and improved at that level drastically from when I started,’ Balogun told reporters.

‘I do feel like I am ready for a new challenge but I am not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I am needed at Arsenal then I am here and the gaffer knows that.

‘I am definitely open to a new challenge but it is something that whatever that challenge is I will be ready.

‘I know the potential I could have and that I need to achieve is massive. I haven’t achieved it yet. What I see now I would just describe as glimpses, things that need to be worked on and can be improved.

‘The performances I am putting in are all I can do at the moment. I know that I am going in the right direction.’

He added: ‘This time last year Emile [Smith Rowe] was playing 23s football, so that just shows how quickly things can change in football.

‘I know that I need to be patient and I have complete faith in the gaffer. Whatever the plan is I will give 100 per cent and I know it will work out.’

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