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Afobe inspired by club-mate's success

Published: Saturday 7 July 2012, 18.06CET
Benik Afobe took time out ahead of England's encounter with France to tell UEFA.com about his goals in Estonia and his friendship with Arsenal FC team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
by Ben Gladwell
from Tallinn
Afobe inspired by club-mate's success
Striker Benik Afobe is hungry for more success with England ©Sportsfile
Published: Saturday 7 July 2012, 18.06CET

Afobe inspired by club-mate's success

Benik Afobe took time out ahead of England's encounter with France to tell UEFA.com about his goals in Estonia and his friendship with Arsenal FC team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

A product of the Arsenal FC academy, Benik Afobe was part of the England side that won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2010. Speaking to UEFA.com after his goalscoring heroics in the 2-1 Group B win against Serbia on Friday, the forward said his latest aim was to make history in Estonia with the U19s. 

UEFA.com: You drew 1-1 with Croatia in your first game here and followed that with victory against Serbia. How difficult was that last match?

Benik Afobe: All credit to our opponents. For about 30 minutes of the second half they were very strong and had lots of shots and a lot of possession, but we were happy that we held on to the lead and to take the three points.

UEFA.com: You scored the first goal and had a big role in the second. Was that satisfying for you?

Benik Afobe: Yes, as a striker you always want to score for your team and to have scored in the sixth minute after our manager called for a sharper start to Friday's match was even better. The goal gave us a bit of breathing space.

UEFA.com: Your pace played a big role in the second goal, which came from a counterattack. Would you say speed is your biggest strength?

Benik Afobe: As a striker, I would say that getting away from defenders is my biggest strength. My movement is quite good and I was happy to have played a big part in the goal.

UEFA.com: Is one of your aims to be the tournament's top scorer?

Benik Afobe: I would rather win the competition and not score a goal. I play this sport because I love working with my team and with the staff and the whole squad. My main aim is to get into the final and get into the history books as the first England team to win the U17s and U19s with the same year group.

UEFA.com: Next up is France and you only need a draw to reach the semi-finals. Will you be playing for a point?

Benik Afobe: Of course not. Any footballer will tell you that when you play, you don't play to draw. You don't play to try and go through just with luck. We want to win that game and we want to finish first in the group – that is what we are going to try to do on Monday.

UEFA.com: How are you going to break down France, who have not conceded a goal?

Benik Afobe: We are just going to try and do what we have been doing all tournament – create chances. Hopefully we will be able to find the breakthrough.

UEFA.com: Your Arsenal FC club-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earned a surprise call-up to the England squad for UEFA EURO 2012. Is he an inspiration to you?

Benik Afobe: Yes, he is one of my closer friends in football – he's a nice guy. Seeing him go from the U18s to the U21s to the seniors is a big inspiration. Even though he is the same age as me, he is still someone I look up to and he deserves everything he gets because he works so hard and he is such a humble guy.

Last updated: 07/07/12 21.29CET

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