Benik Afobe returned to competitive action after some eight months on the sidelines and instantly caught the eye as he helped Arsenal secure a 4-2 win over Aston Villa in the U21 Premier League.

The 20-year-old, who had previous loan spells at Huddersfield, Reading, Bolton, picked up the injury while playing for Millwall back in March and has since been working hard to get back to full fitness.

It was the not the first time the young striker had suffered a major setback as he was forced to miss six months of action back in 2011 when he picked up a groin injury.

Afobe had played a couple of games behind closed doors but this was his first competitive game since the injury and he suitably impressed as he consistently troubled the Villa back four.

He set up former Barcelona youngster Jon Toral for his second of the game after 36 minutes and then went close to just minutes after the break, forcing an impressive save from Villa goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist.

"Glad to play my first 90 minutes since February. Great result, happy with the team and my own performance," tweeted Afobe.

The youngster played the entire 90 minutes as Emmanuel Frimpong and Serge Gnabry rounded off the scoring for Arsenal, but it is the striker's return that will be most pleasing for manager Arsene Wenger who is desperately short of attacking options.

Arsenal supporters have consistently voiced their disapproval at the fact that Nicklas Bendtner is the only genuine alternative to Olivier Giroud and there have been calls for another striker to arrive in January.

However, should Afobe manage to show his ability while representing the U21 side then Wenger may be forced to hand him an opportunity having seen how well Gnabry has taken to life in the first team.

Afobe has featured for England at various youth levels and had an impressive return for the U19s as he scored seven goals in just 10 appearances.

Wenger has always believed in his ability and before his injury problems picked him out, along with several other youth players, as someone who could break into the first team.

Wenger said: "The next strategy is to bring the young players through that we have at the club, like Ryo Miyachi, like Chuks Aneke, like Benik Afobe, like Francis Coquelin, like Emmanuel Frimpong. We want to bring them through and give them a good environment in which to develop."