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Arsenal v CSKA Moscow: Highly-rated starlet Ben Sheaf sends good luck message to team-mates saying: We can win Europa League

PUBLISHED: 16:43 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:55 12 April 2018

Stevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Highly-rated Arsenal starlet Ben Sheaf has sent a good luck message to his team-mates set to face CSKA Moscow in the second leg of the Europa League quarter final in Russia on Thursday evening.

Stevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf speaks to children on a coaching course at Welwyn Garden City FC. Picture: DANNY LOOStevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf speaks to children on a coaching course at Welwyn Garden City FC. Picture: DANNY LOO

The former England U18 player has been earning rave reviews for the quality of his performances since his loan move to League Two Stevenage.

Sheaf, who made his debut for the Gunners in the cauldron of the Maksimir Stadium during the 1-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade in the group stage back in October, has been impressing during his temporary spell at the Lamex Stadium for Dino Maamria’s Boro.

Talented Sheaf – who spoke exclusively to the Islington Gazette after happily taking part in a community football event for the North Herts club after training on Thursday morning – took time out from his busy schedule to send his best wishes to the senior Arsenal side preparing to take on Viktor Goncharenko’s side.

The Dartford-born 20-year-old said: “I’ve been on the bench for quite a few Europa League games and I’ll be cheering the team on tonight.

Stevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf speaks to children on a coaching course at Welwyn Garden City FC. Picture: DANNY LOOStevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf speaks to children on a coaching course at Welwyn Garden City FC. Picture: DANNY LOO

“It would be nice for them to go on and win the tournament and to say I’ve played a small part in the run.

“It’s really great to see Eddie [Nketiah] and Joe [Willock] play their part too and I wish them all the best.

“Hopefully Arsenal will get a good result. It’s going to be a tough place to play in front of a hostile atmosphere but I’m sure we’ve got enough to come back having earned a place in the semi-finals.”

Arsene Wenger’s will start the match with a 4-1 advantage over CSKA.

Stevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf speaks to Layth Yousif. Picture: DANNY LOOStevenage FC's on-loan Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf speaks to Layth Yousif. Picture: DANNY LOO

Goncharenko – who made his name in his native Belarus with five titles at BATE Borisov as well as leading the club into the group stages of the Champions League three times – is again expected to start with an experienced team which includes the veteran Berezutski brothers, Sergei and Vasili as well as the experienced 32-year-old goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

However, Sheaf is confident of the club progressing in the Europa League, and the young Gunner is tipping his team-mates to go win the trophy.

He added: “I think the season hinges on this competition.

“I think we’ve got a massive chance of winning it – which will be great, not only because it will mean a trophy for the club, but also because it means Arsenal will be in the Champions League again next season.

“Of course there are a few decent teams left in the tournament but we have a good chance of winning it but I still think on our day we can beat any of those teams to win the Europa League.”

Read the Islington Gazette website on Friday for Layth’s in-depth interview feature with the talented Sheaf.

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