Some youngsters, like Bukayo Saka, are thrown into first-team action at the earliest possible opportunity, but for others the journey is considerably longer.
Tolaji Bola certainly falls into the latter category, with the 20-year-old defender having had to be very patient for opportunities.
This week Bola was finally called up to the Arsenal first-team squad for the first time as he was named on the bench for the Carabao Cup victory against Nottingham Forest.
While he may not have made it onto the pitch, Bola was delighted to be involved and will now be aiming for further senior callups, whether at Arsenal or out on loan in the second half of the season.
Injuries have disrupted Bola’s development, while in truth he has frequently been caught out defensively.
He has continued to work very hard, however, and it was a satisfying moment seeing him named in a matchday squad with players such as Mesut Ozil and Lucas Torreira.
The rather unexpected departure of Dominic Thompson to Brentford means that Bola is currently the first-choice left-back for Arsenal U23s, and he possesses an attacking threat, frequently delivering dangerous crosses.
Getting into the first-team squad on a permanent basis is going to prove very difficult, though, and it also needs to be taken into consideration that behind him Bola has Joel Lopez to watch out for, with the former Barcelona youngster eager to step up into the U23s.
Even if doesn’t make it at Arsenal, Bola will still be able to say that he was called up to the first-team, and his involvement was a reward for all the hard work that he has put in during his time at the academy.