Rotherham United ace Semi Ajayi has spoken positively about his time at Arsenal, despite not having made a single competitive first-team appearance for the Gunners, Completesports.com reports.
The 25-year-old, who has impressed since beeen switched into midfield from his original role as a defender, joined the Arsenal Academy on a two-year deal after impressing as a trialist with the club in September 2013.
Ajayi played for the reserve side and first featured for their senior team in a friendly against Boreham Wood, but beyond been named in the matchday squad for several Premier League games, he did not break into the first team.
He eventually joined Cardiff City in 2015, first on loan and then permanently, and two years later he linked up with Rotherham, where he has thrived, winning the Championship’s Player of the Month award for March.
The Millers midfielder boosted his team’s fight against relegation by scoring five times in five league outings last month, his efforts including braces against Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers. And over the last nine games he has six goals and one assist, accord to Transfermarkt record.
In conversation with Sky Sports News, Ajayi stressed he bore Arsenal no ill will, and added that he did not consider the stint at the Emirates Stadium fruitless, but explained why he chose to leave.
“I learned a lot, especially at Arsenal,” the 6ft 4in ace said. “I feel like my game came along leaps and bounds and I was around world-class players, training with them day in, day out. I had great coaches and great facilities and I was just a sponge when I was there, soaking in all of the information that I could and trying to improve as much as I could.
“I left because I got to the stage where I did want to try and get some first-team games under my belt, but by no means would I say that the two years I spent there were unsuccessful to me because I developed a huge amount in that time.”
By Oluyemi Ogunseyin