Robbie Burton went into the 2017/18 campaign knowing that it could possibly be his final season at Arsenal as he was in the last year of his scholarship deal.
A product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, Burton has progressed steadily through the ranks at the club and he can safely be said to have taken his chances this campaign as he produced some hugely encouraging performances at U18 level.
Capped by Wales at youth level, the central midfielder was a regular for Arsenal’s U18 side in the first half of the campaign and Kwame Ampadu’s team recovered from a disappointing start to end up finishing second in their league.
Burton frequently weighed in with goals and assists as he produced some consistent performances and, even though he missed some games through injury, he often managed to make an impact on the occasions that he was called upon.
During the campaign Burton also received some callups to the U23 squad and he eventually made his debut at that level against Swansea City at Emirates Stadium towards the end of the campaign.
For Burton, though, the highlight of his season was undoubtedly the part that he played in the club’s run to the final of the FA Youth Cup.
Burton relished playing in the prestigious competition and he scored a goal in the dramatic 3-2 extra-time victory away to Liverpool in the fourth round of the competition.
Possessing impressive close control, Burton is an excellent passer of the ball, although he isn’t the strongest physically.
Given the progress that he has made within the past year, it seems a near certainty that he will be rewarded with a professional contract this summer, with confirmation of that news expected shortly.
If that does prove to be the case then Burton will be aware that he will then face another couple of crucial years as he seeks to establish himself as an integral part of the U23 side.
The step up from the U18s to the U23s is a considerable one, especially with some teams often calling upon some senior players in the latter age group.
If some of the regulars from this season’s U23 side, such as Joe Willock and Josh Dasilva, go out on loan at some point, then that would pave the way for Burton to break into the second-string starting lineup and prove himself.
Having already achieved one objective at Arsenal in earning a professional deal, now Burton is ready for another major challenge.