Having spent much of the season on the sidelines, Chiori Johnson had plenty of time to contemplate his situation at Arsenal and motivate himself to make a sizeable impact upon his return to action.
He has certainly succeeded in that regard, with the right-back having delivered some hugely encouraging performances at youth level in recent weeks after finally putting his injury nightmare behind him.
Johnson broke into the U18s as a schoolboy and featured for the U21s in the first year of his scholarship, but the prospect has reached new heights since returning from injury.
Quick, skilful and a good reader of the game, Johnson’s positioning was previously a little suspect, but he has made significant strides in that regard and, against West Bromwich Albion for the U21s on Monday night, demonstrated that he can be effective going forwards as he frequently combined well with Jack Wilshere.
Johnson was invited to train with the first-team recently after catching the eye in the FA Youth Cup exit to Manchester City, and the 18-year-old will hope to edge closer to the senior squad next season.
With Tafari Moore, another player who has had injury troubles, likely to go on loan next season, there is set to be an opening for Johnson to establish himself as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back at U21 level.
He will no longer be eligible for the U18s, but Johnson will still be permitted to feature in the UEFA Youth League and should be heavily involved in the latter competition.
With Hector Bellerin ahead of him, making the leap into the first-team squad won’t be an easy task for Johnson, but his recent development has been very encouraging indeed, and, perhaps most importantly, his injury problems have seemingly been consigned to the past.