‘My goal is to come back’ – Former Arsenal youth captain targets first-team role

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Mark McGuinness is enjoying a run of first-team football with Ipswich in League One, but is eyeing a role under Mikel Arteta once he returns from his loan.

The defender scored a goal for Arteta in our pre-season friendly with MK Dons back in August, but didn’t do enough to convince the manager that he warranted a role in the senior squad for the campaign.

That was as close as he has got to making his senior debut for the club, but having captained the youth sides previously before suffering with a string of injury setbacks in the previous season, he is working hard to make his dream come true.

McGuinness joined Arsenal at the age of 10 and will not be giving up on his dream of breaking into the first-team, and his current season on loan with Ipswich will not be harming his chances.

Mark admits that it is his goal to return to Arsenal at the end of the season with hopes of breaking into the manager’s plans.

“That’s my goal,” he told FootballLondon in an exclusive interview. “I’ve been at the club since I was 10 and that hasn’t changed. I’ve always wanted to play for Arsenal’s first team so that will never change.

“What I’m doing now is experience and hopefully I can kick on. My goal is to come back and try and get myself into the side.

“Obviously there’s other factors with other centre halves in the first team and things like that, but that doesn’t stop me trying to get into the first team which is what I will try and do. If it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen, but that’s my main goal.”

McGuinness certainly has a number of rivals for the first-team roles at present, and with the likes of William Saliba and Mavroponos also enjoying first-team roles out on loan also, but the fact that McGuinness has the leadership, and his links to the club could well give him an advantage moving forwards.

Could Arteta give him a fair shot to impress in pre-season?