Arsenal shot-stopper Wojciech Szczesny has said that sharing the training ground with superstars like Robert Pires and Thierry Henry gave him the desire to be successful.
The 21-year-old joined the Arsenal academy in 2006 and has gone on to make 71 first-team appearances for the Gunners. The keeper made his debut in December 2010 and has gone on to cement a regular place in the Arsenal net, beating Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Almunia and Vito Mannone to the jersey.
However, his footballing education took place at the club's London Colney training ground, where he shared the pitch with the likes of Henry, Pires and German international goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Szczesny said: "I think what really made me motivated was seeing all the superstars around the training ground. Seeing them there every day just made you think that you want to be there around them [on the pitch] one day. It makes you want to work hard."
The Polish keeper landed a trial with the Gunners after impressing scouts in a Poland under-15s match against France, and Szczesny said he fell in love with the club from his first day there.
"I loved London from the minute I landed at Heathrow Airport," added Szczesny. "I also loved the atmosphere around the training ground and the facilities, it was all just there for me to go on and make a career in football."
The talented youngster now hopes that Arsenal's current crop of academy players can follow the path he took and graduate into the first-team squad.
Jack Wilshere has risen through the ranks to become one of Arsenal's key midfielders, while the likes of Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke will hope to play first-team football next season after enjoying loan spells
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