As Emmanuel Adebayor prepares for a first showpiece occasion in English football at the Carling Cup final later this month, the Togo striker knows he has come a long way in a short time.
The 21-year-old gangly Gunners frontman arrived from Monaco last January, and has slowly grown in both stature and confidence.
Adebayor has weighed in with eight goals - including a late winner at Old Trafford in mid-September - and has gone some way to relieving the burden from Thierry Henry.
Such was the impact of the big African - holding the ball up with consummate ease and showing more than a passing resemblance to his boyhood hero Kanu - that Arsenal managed to safely negotiate a difficult spell of the campaign when their talismanic skipper was sidelined.
Despite seemingly now destined for a bright future, Adebayor is aware the opportunities at a top European club are a million miles away from those facing many less fortunate back in his home continent.
He said: "Not long ago I was in Africa and I had nothing - now I am playing for Arsenal. It has happened very quickly and I am so thankful for it.
"Every footballer when they wake up in the morning has to thank God and thank football because, without football, we would not be here."
Adebayor recalled: "When you see these children, it makes you realise a lot.
"There are some babies there who are very ill and I will never forget what I saw there in my life.
"I am lucky and I have the chance to be a footballer. I should make the most of it every single day."
After taking time to settle this season, particular in home games, Adebayor is now a real handful.
The African forward has every intention of maintaining his high-tempo work ethic.
"Yes, I like to run and run - that is how I play football," declared Adebayor.
"It is difficult to play against a striker who is always moving.
"I might not be the player who will get three goals in a game, but I will work hard, run everywhere and jump for every ball.
"Whether I play 10 minutes or 90 minutes, I give everything.
"I was a good player in Monaco, but I was not a good, top scorer.
"Today I think I am working hard on that and improving game by game."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in no doubt of the potential of the African.
He said: "I brought Adebayor because I felt he had the qualities to cope with the English game - physically and technically strong, good in the air. He has the ingredients we do not have.
"What I like as well is that he does not give up. That quality is really important if you are going to be a top-level team."
Wenger maintains he will once more opt for a delicate blend of youth and experience against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium.
The young Gunners have already proved more than capable, having put out West Brom, Everton and Liverpool away in previous rounds before recovering from a slow start against Tottenham to defeat their fierce rivals over two legs in the semi-finals.
Adebayor sees no reason why those continued efforts cannot earn the club a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
He said: "Of course, there is an even greater satisfaction that we have done it with young players. Now I hope we are going to win it.
"If you can beat Liverpool at their home ground then Tottenham as well, we have a good chance to win it.
"The young boys, we have played them in the Premiership and when we have had to win, they have done it.
"It does not matter about their age. We have a lot of quality."
Wenger insists he has no intention of "handing over the trophy" to the Blues, and will field a side he feels is capable of giving Jose Mourinho's men a run for their money.
The Arsenal manager said: "It is already a great achievement for this team to reach the final, but we do not want to think like that now - we want to finish the job we have worked so hard for.
"I believe the boys have the right mental strengths to finish the job, they have already shown that."
Wenger added: "Throughout the Carling Cup campaign this year, this team has shown great mental resources in every single game.
"That tells you that the future will be very good because they never give in."