Published: 27/09/2012 02:00 - Updated: 27/09/2012 03:01

Arsenal man Roberts relishes ICT opportunity

Written byBy Paul Chalk

PHILIP Roberts hopes a stormy success at Stenhousemuir could be the first step towards dream progress with English Premierships giants Arsenal.

The 18-year-old forward joined Caley Thistle last month until the New Year. His target is to learn from working with the first-team squad in the Clydesdale Bank SPL and to push hard for a place in Terry Butcher's line-up to make his coaches down south sit up and take note.

The Republic of Ireland youth international stepped off the bench in extra-time Tuesday's rain-lashed Scottish Communities League Cup third round clash at Ochilview as ICT were taken all the way to penalties before going through 6-5 in the shoot-out.

Not only did he force three fine saves from outstanding Stenny keeper Robbie Thomson, who came in on loan from Celtic, but he calmly tucked away one of the decisive kicks to steer the top-flight club past impressive and dangerous Second Division opponents.

Butcher said that a few players made a positive impact in Tuesday's fourth round tie and Roberts hopes he was one of them as he aims to earn more match time.

He said: "All I can do when I can come off the bench is try to and make a case to start and help the team as much as I can.

"It's been a different challenge here - it's men's football. Being in and around the first-team gives me valuable experience.

"The gaffer and all the players have really helped me settle in and make the adjustment from youth level to first-team. I like Inverness, the football is good and the lads all work very well.

"Arsenal have told me to come here and try to soak up as much information and experience as I can and push hard to get into the first-team. "

Roberts, who was Arsenal's under-18s top scorer last term with nine goals, feels working with former England captain Butcher has also been a real boost.

He said: "He's a very good manager, very passionate. He's always got time for the players if you want to talk to him about anything. He's always in the heart of it all at training and I'm enjoying working with him."

For the ICT fans yet to see Roberts play, he described what he feels he can offer the Inverness side if picked for Saturday's home SPL date with Dundee United.

He added: "I am a bit pacy. I like to try and get in behind players and try to score as many goals as I can, especially by working off someone up front."

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