Folarin Balogun has made regular appearances off the bench in Arsenal’s Europa League campaign and, despite being limited to a total of 61 minutes of action, the 19-year-old striker has scored two goals and provided one assist.
Against Dundalk on Thursday, Balogun replaced Eddie Nketiah after the hour mark and set up Joe Willock before getting on the score sheet himself.
It was yet another impressive cameo off the bench for the youngster and former Arsenal defender Martin Keown was full of praise for the forward.
Speaking after Arsenal’s win on BT Sport, Keown compared Balogun to Ian Wright and Andy Cole and claimed he deserves more chances to impress.
“I am looking at him and thinking ‘remember the name’ really with the way he looked tonight,” Keown said.
“The way he linked up, that is a great turn. You try to compare, is it Andy Cole or Ian Wright? There is that sort of movement about him. I know those are big name players and if he can live up to that he will have some career.
“I just like the way he is always looking on the shoulder and his movement. The way he scores the goal, the way he comes onto it he is pointing, give me it, this is my moment. He has had to wait for his opportunity, he is 19 years old and showing really good signs.”
Owen Hargreaves also praised Balogun, adding: “Arsenal have a genuine chance of winning this competition. Balogun came on and had a good impact. We’ve seen Willock have a terrific impact in this competition and Saka before.
“It’s brilliant for these young kids from the academy to come here and play football at this level and this will mean a ton to them. A couple more came on today and showed real quality moments.”
Balogun’s current contract is due to expire at the end of the season and he is yet to agree a new deal but manager Mikel Arteta is confident about the player’s future.
“Well we’re having some discussions with the player. He knows that we want to retain him at the club,” Arteta said. “We know that the length of his contract at the moment is an issue but we’re trying to resolve it the best possible way.
“We want him to stay. He said to me that he wants to stay at the club hopefully we can reach an agreement and extend his contract.”