Matt Smith recently reached a significant milestone in his fledgling career as he signed his first professional contract with Arsenal.
The talented young midfielder was rewarded for the excellent performances that he has produced at U18 level, where he has demonstrated his fine passing range.
For Smith, though, the hard work doesn’t stop here, with the Hale End product determined to make a major impact at U23 level.
Smith has already gained some experience of second-string football – he was heavily involved with the squad earlier in the campaign when several players were unavailable due to injuries and suspensions.
Since then Smith has returned to the U18 setup, where he has continued to make a major impact as Ken Gillard’s side look to win the league title at the expense of rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Towards the end of last season Smith participated in several first-team training sessions and didn’t look out of place amongst players considerably older than him.
It will be a tough task for Smith to eventually break into the first-team squad at Arsenal given the amount of midfielders at the club, but he is certainly a player to keep an eye on.
If Smith continues to perform to a high standard for the U18s for the remainder of the campaign then it seems likely that he will go into next season full of confidence and ready to thrive for the U23s next campaign.