Folarin Balogun’s brother has slammed Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta’s tactics after the striker struggled in Arsenal’s defeat to Brentford at the start of the season.
Recall the Gunners were beaten 2-0 by the newly-promoted club.
Balogun was handed his Premier League debut for the match as both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were ruled out. But the 20-year-old failed to make an impact in the game and was substituted after just 59 minutes.
However, Balogun’s brother, Royce believes Arsenal’s ‘system’ made it difficult for the striker to flourish in the game.
‘It was his time, it was really deserved, it wasn’t by luck or by chance, he fully deserved that chance,’ Royce Balogun said on What The Footie Podcast.
‘It was a good game for him, it was a baptism of fire, I think it was something he needed, he needed to see that this is the level.
‘I think him going through that really showed he’s just started, it’s just the beginning, there’s always the next step, to me you’ve never made it until you retire, until you’re finished and you can sign off and say, ‘this is my career, my stats, my numbers’, that’s when you can see you’ve made it, you’ve done your career.
‘I think the tactics and the system… I’m not going to say much, but to see him on the pitch I was really proud of him.
‘It was a baptism, he really learnt it was not Under-23s, these are people who are really going for it, they want your head, even the way they were dragging him about you could tell.
‘After the game you could really tell he was angry. He wasn’t panicking, it was more, ‘I need to step up’, the next day he was angry but he was like, ‘we go again, we go to the training ground and we keep going’.
‘It’s tough being in that limelight, and especially with that kind of fame.
‘How I realised it, I’m just a normal boy compared to my brother, after the game my brother was like, ‘I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t step out of my house, we lost, if I step out people are going to come to me and ask me questions’.
‘It’s weird, when I think about it it’s true, people are really invested in this but this is someone’s life. I know he’s a footballer, it’s a job, but he’s trying his best, what can you do?
‘Especially when sometimes, I don’t want to go in, but it’s not necessarily you as a player who’s really struggling, it’s more the system around you.
‘When you look at that striker problem, in terms of chances created, it’s not just Folarin, it was there when Martinelli was playing there, when Aubameyang was playing there… the system doesn’t work. You can’t blame one player for that, it’s more the actual systematic thing.
‘Whenever I talk to Folarin I tell him to keep going but the system just doesn’t really work at the moment. Soon it will work, there will be a movement and you’ve got to be ready when it does. At the same time, there’s nothing really you can do, you just have to support, keep on talking and keep telling him to keep maintaining.’