'New Pique' Miguel can live up to the hype

Arsenal's latest Spanish wonderkid Ignasi Miguel believes he can live up to the hype after being labelled “the new Gerard Pique”.

The 18-year-old joined the Gunners in February 2008 from Catalan minnows UD Cornella, with Arsene Wenger fending off fierce competition for the central defender's signature from Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Miguel, a former Barcelona academy player, has revealed he is looking to follow the example of one-time Manchester United defender Gerard Pique, who later earned a move back to current La Liga champions Barcelona.

“I play like Pique from Barcelona”, he told the club's official website.

“I like to play the ball and go in strong for challenges. I just want to win. I think I’m a winner, I always give 100 percent for every game.

“The same happened to him, when he was young he came here. We are both quite tall and we both like playing the ball out from the back."

The Gunners' reserve team manager Neil Banfield has recently handed Miguel the reserve team's captain's armband, and the ball-playing defender spoke of his pride at being given the opportunity to lead his team-mates.

“I’m so happy that Neil gave me the chance to have the armband and I’m not going to disappoint him. I’m going to keep working and show that I can [make it],” the teenager added.

“I know that I have to work 100 percent every day and give everything when I play. I just want to get into the first team. I’ve had the chance to train with the first team to show the boss I can be there and if he gives the me the chance I’m going to show what I can do.”

Despite moving away from his native Spain as a youngster Miguel says England now feels like home.

“I remember when I came here I couldn’t talk and I was lost. But now I’m trying to talk and tell people what to do. I’m trying to help them when they are playing.

“I’ve adapted now to [life in] England. It was quite hard but now I feel comfortable and I feel like it’s my home now. I’m happy to be here and now I just want to keep working hard and maybe one day get the chance to show that I am good enough to play for the Arsenal first team."

By Stuart Appleby