BENIK Afobe could not wait to sign for Wanderers , even after hearing Jack Wilshere recall the bruising welcome he got at the Reebok.

Wilshere famously received a tough initiation when he turned out for the first time at Euxton, with skipper Kevin Davies particularly keen to test the young midfielder’s mettle.

He passed the test with flying colours and went back to the Emirates to claim a first-team place and move on to England honours.

Afobe, who scored a hat-trick in Wanderers’s friendly at Tranmere last night, aims to follow suit – and reckons he can learn plenty from one of football’s toughest customers to take back to Arsenal and help earn himself a regular Premier League place.

“I asked Jack about that story,” he said. “It’s true, and a few of the lads have been telling me the same. “It’s fine by me. I’ve been watching the skipper play for many years in the Premier League and I even remember him at Southampton as a good player.

“I’ll be talking to him at training and trying to pick up tips, hoping to pick up on his work -rate, and his hold-up play is unbelievable, so he’s someone I think I can definitely learn from.

“He has had a good career so far and I’d like to think I can work with him and get results to help me in my career at Arsenal.

“There are some good strikers here – I watched David Ngog come through at Liverpool and in France and Marvin Sordell, who I’ve seen in the (England) Under-21s, he’s a good finisher. I can improve at this club.”

Afobe has come through the Arsenal ranks with Wilshere, who is perhaps the best example of what has quickly become known as the “Wanderers Finishing School,” and is aiming to show similar improvement when he returns to the Emirates next summer.

“Jack’s one of my best friends, not just at Arsenal but in life, and he told me to get up here and enjoy it. Ryo (Miyaichi) said exactly the same,” he said.

“I’ve known Jack since I was eight years old. He came back from Bolton a better player and that’s the plan for me – to be more mature on and off the pitch, living and learning, It’s going to be hard but it’s something I’m looking forward to. I want to play in front of big crowds and win games. Hopefully that will also mean Bolton has done well and we get back into the Premiership”