Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom reveals he was surprised after Arsene Wenger allowed him to leave the Emirates on loan in the summer. The 20-year-old joined the Championship side Hull City on a season-long loan in August after impressing in the pre-season for the Gunners.
The English forward came up through the ranks of the north London club's youth setup, before breaking into the first team at the age of 17. However, he failed to cement a place in the first team, which saw him go out on short loan spells.
Akpom wanted to stay at Arsenal and fight for a place in the first team. However, Wenger claims he felt the forward was not ready for the Premier League, which convinced him to send his player out on loan.
"It was a surprise. But he gave me the option. He said I could stay there if I want, be involved and get some cameos, or I could go out and play solid games. That's what I'm doing now. I chose to go out and play because I need to get as much game-time and as much experience as possible," Akpom told Sky Sports.
The Gunners manager earlier admitted that Akpom has a future at the club, despite not featuring for the first team in the last two years. He is hoping to impress during his loan spell at Hull as the forward has set his sights on becoming a regular inclusion in Arsenal's starting lineup, following his return to the Emirates.
"It's always nice to know that he [Wenger] thinks I've got a first team future there. That's where I want to play at the end of the day. For someone like Arsene Wenger to say that I've got a big chance at Arsenal, it must mean something," the forward explained.
"I'm playing quite a bit, the team is strong and I've been getting games. That's the main thing when you go on loan, to get as much game-time as possible."
"I think I'm gaining more and more confidence with each game. The standard of training is really high, and the game day standard is really high as well. There's a lot of competition for places. Everyone is really competitive and I'm learning a lot from these players."