Mikel Arteta hinted Folrain Balogun will only get further first team opportunities when his performances in training force his hand.
The talented teenager has been prolific at Under-23 level for the Gunners and made his senior debut in last week’s Europa League victory against Dundalk as a second half substitute.
Balogun has little over six months remaining on his current contract and had been the subject of a £3million offer from Sheffield United over the summer, while several Bundesliga clubs are said to be monitoring his situation.
The 19-year-old is desperate to force his way into Arteta’s first team plans on a regular basis but was not included in the squad for last night’s victory over Molde at the Emirates.
Arsenal are on the verge of sealing qualification to the knockout stages after a third successive victory in the competition, but even with his side in such a commanding position Arteta is not willing to select the youngster unless he has earned it.
Asked why Balogun wasn’t in the matchday squad last night, Arteta said: ‘Again, the chances will come with what they show us with their performances on the pitch and in training.
‘The better results we have and the more clear we are in the group stages, obviously that opens the door a little bit more to give more opportunities to more players that deserve it.
‘At the moment we still have some senior players that we cannot give them the time that they deserve because at the moment we have a lot of fit players.’
Asked whether his policy of selecting fringe first team players ahead of some of the club’s most exciting youngsters, Arteta added: ‘If you look at the numbers of how much the young players have played since I joined, I don’t think it’s a question that we can raise to ourselves.
‘The good thing is that they’re not just young players so we have to give them the opportunity, they have to earn that right to play and they are doing that. That’s a really positive thing and how lucky we are to have this generation. We [have to] develop them in the right way and the right way sometimes is giving them the opportunities when they deserve it.
‘If not they don’t play and it’s the best way for them to learn the standards that are required at this football club. If not then you are not good enough to play here. When they show it they have to start. We have a few examples of that and they start every week.’