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Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal have a ‘clear project’ with Folarin Balogun after Carabao Cup snub


Flo Balogun was expected to feature in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup tie against Leeds (Getty)

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal have a ‘clear project’ with Folarin Balogun after the forward was left on the bench for the Gunners’ victory over Leeds United in the Carabao Cup.

The 20-year-old, who was given his first-ever Premier League start on the opening day of the season in the defeat to Brentford, hasn’t featured for Arsenal since he made a late substitute appearance against AFC Wimbledon in the previous round of the Carabao Cup in September.

It was expected that Balogun would be handed some minutes in the cup tie against Leeds on Tuesday evening but the forward was left on the bench as second-half goals from Calum Chambers and Eddie Nketiah sealed a 2-0 win for Arteta’s side.

But despite his failure to give Balogun some more first-team experience, Arteta insists the player is ‘making the right progress’.

When asked about Balogun’s future at Arsenal, Arteta replied: ‘We will see what happens.

‘Again, with Flo we have a really clear project.

Mikel Arteta insists Flo Balogun is ‘making the right progress’ at Arsenal (Getty)

‘The steps that he’s making, they are the right steps.

‘Don’t forget he is really young, he hasn’t played almost any professional football, and you need to go through every phase – and don’t try to jump phases when you are not ready to do so.

‘Again I’m really happy with him, he’s making the right progress and in December we will see where we are and what’s the best for him as well.’

Another unused Arsenal substitute in the win over Leeds was Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand.

When asked about his decision to include the 18-year-old in his matchday squad for the Carabao Cup tie, Arteta replied: ‘Rewarding him… for what he does every day in training and the games that he’s playing, for his attitude and the quality he has.

‘He totally deserves to be with us.’

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